Spanking Shakespeare by Jake WiznerSpanking Shakespeare by Jake Wizner

Spanking Shakespeare

byJake WiznerIllustratorRichard Ewing

Paperback | October 28, 2008

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SHAKESPEARE SHAPIRO HAS ALWAYS hated his name. His parents bestowed it on him as some kind of sick joke when he was born, and his life has gone downhill from there, one embarrassing incident after another. Entering his senior year of high school, Shakespeare has never had a girlfriend, his younger brother is cooler than he is, and his best friend's favorite topic of conversation is his bowel movements.

But Shakespeare will have the last laugh. He is chronicling every mortifying detail in his memoir, the writing project each senior at Shakespeare's high school must complete. And he is doing it brilliantly. And, just maybe, a prize-winning memoir will bring him respect, admiration, and a girlfriend . . . or at least a prom date.

From the Hardcover edition.
Jake Wizner’s life improved significantly after he graduated from high school. These days he lives in New York City with his wife and two daughters and teaches eighth-grade English and history. Spanking Shakespeare is his first novel. To learn more about Jake, visit his Web site at
Title:Spanking ShakespeareFormat:PaperbackDimensions:304 pages, 8.31 × 5.56 × 0.65 inPublished:October 28, 2008Publisher:Random House Children's BooksLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0375855947

ISBN - 13:9780375855948

Appropriate for ages: 13 - 17


Rated 5 out of 5 by from 5 out of 5 I found this book to be amazing a true tribute to teens that are having hardships and really help to see and feel like you are in that place.
Date published: 2015-03-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Life is spanking Shakespeare Life has been spanking Shakespeare ever since his parents named him, well, Shakespeare, and now in his last year of high school, life seems to be giving him all it has left. Every student at Hemingway High Schools is required to complete a memoir of their life for their senior project, the best of which is rewarded the schools most coveted award at the graduation. For Shakespeare Shapiro the task is relatively simple, as he recounts the terrible misfortunes that have led him to this point in his life. The time his parents sent him to a camp straight out of Lord of the Flies, the time he got caught with a pornographic magazine in math class, and the time he saw his father get drunk and act like a complete idiot are just a few of the chapters included in his memoir. In each is evident the extraordinary humor that surrounds Shakespeare in every aspect of his life. An obituary about his death after being crushed by a 600 pound sumo wrestler, a fish named sushi, the 'coma game', a haiku with more that 17 syllables, and a game of Would You Rather ('watch a kitten be dissected or your parents having sex') cleverly disguise in a science club poster. These are just some of the example of the clever wit that runs almost nonstop throughout the text, only to be slightly overshadowed by Shakespeare's slight obsession with sex. Girls and sex seem to rule every aspect of Shakespeare's life, which clearly becomes evident in his mission to finally acquire a girlfriend during senior year. This also provides the novel with much of its more serious sub-plot. Shakespeare is a character that has, for the most part, taken a back seat to life and it has passed him by without inflicting too much permanent damage. However, reflecting on the misfortunes of his life and the challenges that face him in his final year start to give Shakespeare and the reader insight into who he is. As the read starts to get past the humor, we see a character that can be sympathized with. Through the crazy that is Shakespeare, there also exists a boy that I found myself relating too, even as a girl. His insecurities about his love life, who he is or even what university he will be going to, reflect that of an average teenager. A witty, and somewhat perverted book about the life of an anything but average, average teenager. Shakespeare Shapiro ultimately won me over, because he is anything but an angst-ridden teenager, just a boy who was spanked by life but got up and kept walking. I give this book: ★★★★ P.S. The movie rights to Spanking Shakespeare were bought by Paramount in 2008 and the movie is most likely set to be released in 2011, so read it before then. © Nimphsky
Date published: 2010-04-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from MUST READ! (I used capitals you have to do it) Spanking Shakespeare was fantastic! It was funny! Shakespeare Shapiro is not the most popular kid ins school. But he can write. He goes to Hemingway High and his senior project is to write his memoir. What he writes is funny, moving and it felt so perfectly right. It was so charming.
Date published: 2009-04-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Really Enjoyed This One I thought this was a great book. Very comical with a hint of seriousness to it. I found it captured what it's like growing up as the "invisible" one, and how it takes a little push to change that. I highly recommend this book.
Date published: 2009-04-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from To be or not to be is not even close to the right question Imagine a life where you name is Shakespeare, and the hell that would be your school, and social life. As the end of his senior year approaches Shakespeare has to do just that, in the form of an memoir required to graduate. Shakespeare is a real teen, and dealing with issues a lot of us have dealt with (who likes me? will i get into college? what about prom?), and does so in a laugh out loud funny, and touching, sometimes slightly disturbing way. A great read for guys, or girls.
Date published: 2008-11-11

Read from the Book

17 Down What’s In A Name? It’s hard to imagine what my parents were thinking when they decided to name me Shakespeare. They were probably drunk, considering the fact that my father is an alcoholic and my mother gets loopy after one glass of wine. I’ve given up asking them about it because neither of them is able to remember anything anymore, and the stories they come up with always leave me feeling like it might not be so bad to dig a hole in the backyard and hide out there until I leave for college next year. That is, if I get into college.My mom used to tell me that she and my father put the names of history’s greatest writers and artists and musicians into a bowl and decided I would be named for whoever they pulled out. “I was hoping for van Gogh,” she said.“Didn’t he cut his ear off?” I asked.“Yes,” my mother said dreamily, stroking the side of my face. “To give to the woman he loved.”My dad remembers that he and my mom always talked about giving me an “S–H” name to match the “S–H” of our last name, Shapiro. “We thought about Sherlock, Shaquille, and Shaka Zulu before we settled on Shakespeare.”“You really wanted to make my life miserable, didn’t you?” I asked.My father licked the rim of his martini glass. “That was the plan.”The worst was the time my mom came running into my room and told me she finally remembered how she and my dad had come up with my name.“We did crazy things when we were younger,” she said.“Is this going to traumatize me?” I asked.“Sometimes we would dress up in costumes.”“I don’t want to hear this. You’re an insane woman.”“We were doing a scene from Shakespeare on the day you were conceived.”“I’m calling Child Services!” I yelled, running from the room.Her voice shrilled after me. “Your father was Othello!”Take a moment to consider the implications of a name like Shakespeare Shapiro. It’s the first day of middle school. Everybody is trying hard not to look nervous and self-conscious and miserable. I have intense pains in my stomach and begin to wonder if it’s possible to get an ulcer in sixth grade.“Good morning, everyone,” the teacher says. “Please say ‘here’ when I call your name.”Michael and Jennifer and David and Stephanie and all the others hear their names and dutifully identify themselves.“Shakespeare Shapiro,” the teacher calls out.The class bursts into laughter.“Here,” I squeak.She looks up. “What a fabulous name. I’ve never had a student named Shakespeare before.”Everybody is staring at me and whispering. If the teacher doesn’t call the next name soon, the situation will become critical. Already I can see some of the more ape-like boys sizing me up for an afternoon beating.“I bet you’re a wonderful writer, Shakespeare,” she says kindly.I begin to wish for a large brick to fall on her head.She looks back down at her roster.Come on, I think. You can do it.Her head pops back up.“Just read the next name!” I blurt out.And so, less than ten minutes into my middle school career, I’m already in trouble, and all because of my ridiculous name.This is the story of my life, which has been a series of catastrophes, one after another. I’d like to say there have been some happy times, too, but the reality is that with seventeen years down, nothing much has gone right so far. As I begin my senior year of high school, here are the facts I wake up to each morning and go to sleep with each night:1. After six years of elementary school, three years of middle school, and three years of high school, I have only two close friends: Neil Wasserman, whose favorite thing to do is discuss his bowel movements; and Katie Marks, whose favorite thing to do is tell me how pathetic I am.2.I have never had a girlfriend, never kissed a girl, and spend most Saturday nights watching TV with my parents before whacking off to Internet porn in my bedroom.3.My younger brother—two years younger—has a girlfriend, is extremely popular, and will definitely lose his virginity before I do.I should warn you. Some of the material you’re about to read is disturbing. Some of it will make you shake your head in disbelief. Some of it will make you cringe in disgust. Some of it might even make you rush out into the stormy night, rip your shirt from your body, and howl, “WHY, GOD, WHY?”Then again, maybe you’ll just sit back and smile, secure in the knowledge that your name is not Shakespeare Shapiro, and this is not your life.From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

“Exceptionally funny and sweet.”—Publishers Weekly, Starred

“This brilliantly lewd novel is hilarious.”—Chicago Tribune