Thursday, September 16, 2010

BOOK REVIEW: Glee: The Beginning

Posted on Thu, Sep 16, 2010 at 11:09 AM

Hey all you Gleeks, Gleemons and Gleetards! I know your very favoritest show in the entire world is premiering next week ("Tomorrow/Tomorrow/I'll love 'ya, tomorrow/We're only a day awayyyyy!"), but in case you just can't wait (or read), I decided to plow through the prequel "novel" that was released in August. Just. For. You.

I know what you're thinking: Man, the only thing stupider than trying to adapt a musical television show to a novel would be adapting it to comic book form … Oh, wait. They did that, too. How 'bout them apples? ("Five red apples hung on a tree/The farmer didn't care/So guess who came to eat?/A CATERPILLAR … MUNCH, MUNCH!") Still, this book is vitally important for you to understand the background information for the season of the show you've already seen.

In case you've been living inside a box* or something, Rachel joins the Glee Club, even though everybody hates her because she's really annoying (glad that changes!). All the jocks and Gleevians don't talk to each other, and almost nothing happens by way of plot. Luckily, there are plenty of fleeting descriptions of characters and situations that will be recognizable enough to those who religiously watch the TV show (i.e. the only people buying this book) to keep stringing along their attention span until the end. ("This is the end/Beautiful friend/This is the end/My only friend, the end")

Filled with insightful thoughts (and thoughtful insights) like, "[Rachel] couldn't help thinking it was kind of sad when a principal couldn't get hardwood floors" (because in Ohio, hardwood floors are apparently the epitome of class and sophistication) and "[Quinn] used to love the flavor [of Juicy Fruit] so much, she wasn't able to chew it for long before she had to — she couldn't help it — swallow it. Puck was Juicy Fruit. She just wanted to devour him [like a preying mantis**]," this novel has everything you could hope for in a Gleequel.

Hey, you guys remember Christina Aguilera? ("I'm a genie in a bottle, baby/Gotta love me the right way, honey/I'm a genie in a bottle, baby/Come, come, come and let me out")***

This is a novel for our times, unafraid to tackle the rough issues: Poll taxes for blacks (the Cheerios try to charge Mercedes to vote for homecoming royalty), gendered stereotypes (Kurt desires "to be a greasy pepperoni on that piece" of pizza Finn's eating, which is obviously a reference to men being objectified as phallic objects) and the horrors of trying to live vicariously through children (Mr. Schue's fixation on/daydreams about his glory days in high school actually interferes with his job performance). ("Well I don't care about history/Rock, rock, rock'n'roll high school/'Cause that's not where I wanna be/Rock, rock, rock'n'roll high school")

And the emotion, Oh, the emotion. Like when Kurt invites Rachel to Glee Club, Mercedes is crushed. "She felt as if he'd slushied her pride." No one wants their pride slushied. No one.

If you can overlook the vaguely British placement of quotation marks (which offends me both as a copy editor and a patriotic American) and have an unhealthy obsession with this television show, then this is the book for you, you Gleeb!

* This paragraph is intended to be read at the same speed those voice-over warnings are given in commercials for medication, or roughly four times the speed of sound in a gas of extremely low molecular weight (e.g. helium).
** I added that last parenthetical explanation for clarity's sake.
*** Network notes said we had to include more artists that people know, but not artists popular enough to charge a lot of money to use their songs. It really boosts CD sales.

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