The Boy Who Couldn’t Sleep…is not your typical Perks of Being a Wallflower high school story. I love Perks but honestly I wish I had this book in high school instead. High school angst, the trials of being a social outcast, finding a friend just like you and just a hint of science fiction thrown in.
If you are fan or follower of comedy than you are probably already familiar with DC Pierson, member of Derrick Comedy and appeared with them on sketches for CollegeHumor. Watch anything even remotely funny and there is a chance that DC is in it somewhere. When his first book was released in 2010, I was pretty surprised. I figured at first that it would be a book about his career in Comedy, anecdotes about writing skits and being featured in an improv group. Nope, it’s fiction. Once I heard that, I was ready to give it a try.
Once I picked up this book however, I realized that I didn’t have to try. I almost completed it in one sitting. The story is simple and intriguing at the same time.
Darren Bennett is that run of the mill High School nerd, likes to draw and definitely doesn’t have anything to do with girls. He spends his time in class drawing up elaborate characters and putting pen to paper. We all knew someone like Darren in High School so it’s easy to drudge up an image of the character in your mind. When he meets Eric Lederer, there is an instant connection between the two of them. They spend more and more time together, coming up with their own epic SciFi Fantasy comic series and spending little time apart.
From the very beginning it almost seems like it’s just your run of the mill teen story about friendship – which it can be but then the book takes a wonderful turn. Eric confides in Darren and tells him his deepest secret; as the title of the book suggests, he had never slept and doesn’t have to. Why? How? Darren wants answers and doesn’t know how to get them. He is curious as to whether that is as far as Eric’s abilities go or is it just a precursor to something more.
The farther you go in the book; the hairier things get for both main characters. You have “The Man” trying to get to Eric and you have their friendship being pulled in multiple different directions. The struggle of emotion you experience with Darren the entire book is something incredibly relatable. Especially if you were that kind of kid in Middle School or High School. It shows the cruelty of other kids of that age group towards Nerds, Weird Kids or Art Geeks. Reading such an open interpretation of male friendships during that time of their lives is also kind of refreshing. At first there is nothing openly macho about their friendship – just two boys who enjoy Fantasy and comic books and drawing; coming up with epic tales and putting them to paper. No judgement, just enjoyment.
When I finished the book, I wanted more. What happened to them? It is such an open-ended finish, which I love. I can come up with my own happy ending and no one can tell me not to, or tell me that that isn’t how it ended. You don’t know what happens to the both of them, you can only imagine.
There had always been a soft spot in my heart for Young Adult novels. I tried too hard and too young to read books that were much more ahead of my level. When I was in fifth grade I read A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway. Did I like it? Sure. Did I get it? Absolutely not. So when I started to actually read books that were written for people my age, I was hooked. I related to these characters, we were going through the same things. Even though this book came out well after I was out of high school, I still remember those feelings and those conflicts and it makes me feel closer to the characters. No matter how much older I get, I will always read and support YA novels. Except Twilight, because – come on.
Whether you’re familiar with his comedy or with his writing, I definitely suggest checking out this quick and interesting read. I know it’s not like any other teen novel that you have ever read before. John Green, eat your heart out.