Written in side-splitting and often cringe-inducing detail, Paul Feig takes you in a time machine to a world of bombardment by dodge balls, ill-fated prom dates, hellish school bus rides, and other aspects of public school life that will keep you laughing in recognition and occasionally sighing in relief that you aren’t him. Kick Me is a nostalgic trip for the inner geek in all of us.
These interlocking essays on everything from a sadistic gym teacher and geeky after-class pastimes to obsessive romantic tendencies and a prom that wasn't the best night of the author's life are terrifically entertaining, although undoubtedly imaginatively amped up for maximum readability. Feig is the creator of the late-'90s sitcom Freaks and Geeks, a sort of Wonder Years for the Dungeons and Dragons set. Much of the show was based on Feig's own childhood, and this memoir is, in a way, the show's literary equivalent. After Mr. Wendell, Feig's seventh-grade gym teacher, orders a bunch of big, mean classmates to pile on top of Feig and pummel him as he stumbles out of the locker-room showers, the author recalls, "They all started to get off me one at a time, laughing and congratulating each other on a job well done.... All I could do was stand there and think about the fact that this was merely the first day of gym class. Nine more months of pre-teen locker room torture awaited me." But Feig gets the last laugh. Blessed with the sensitivity that landed him in such trouble when young, he lightly slices and dices the social cunning of all the bullies unfortunate enough to enter his orbit. True to form, Feig's mini-hit was canceled after one season, leading to a futile mass uprising, including a full-page ad in Variety, from his fans, who were disenchanted by yet another of life's downers. It is that very audience who will adore this originally written, imaginatively comic missive.