Burger Wuss
by Anderson, M. T.

Hoping to lose his loser image, Anthony plans revenge on a bully, which results in a war between two competing fast food restaurants, Burger Queen and O'Dermott's.

M. T. Anderson teaches in the MFA in Writing for Children program at Vermont College. He says: "When I was a teenager, I worked at McDonald's. On my first day, I had to go into the women's room and sponge up something that looked like an industrial disaster. I was almost fired for putting up a sign on the door that said Out of McOrder. The whole experience went downhill from there."

Gr. 7^-10. Anthony, the teenage narrator of this wild-and-crazy, story wants revenge. His girlfriend has been stolen away by a particularly nasty kid named Turner, star employee at the local O'Dermott's fast-food franchise. Anthony lands a job at O'Dermott's, goes through a ludicrous training process, and tangles with the vicious Turner, who, of course, recognizes Anthony as the wronged boyfriend, dubs him "Burger Wuss," and bullies him mercilessly. Undaunted, Anthony teams up with another employee-an anarchistic animal rights fanatic-to develop a plan that will humiliate Turner and the restaurant franchise as well. Black humor and satire abound. There are running gags about the local rivalry between O'Dermott's and Burger Queen, Anthony's well-meaning but clueless parents, and Turner's goofy friends involved in a torrid, fast-food romance. There is a marvelous parody of a television commercial that will make readers laugh out loud twice-once when they read the original script devised by the advertising people, and once again when reading the additions added to the script by Shunt, the animal-rights supporter. And then there's Anthony-a sort of teenage Woody Allen who comes to a surprising decision when he has a real chance for revenge against Turner. What a booktalk this one will make! Give it to teens who enjoy the goofy humor of Pratchett and the ferocious fun of Vonnegut-and be sure to add it to your list of good reads for reluctant readers. ((Reviewed November 15, 1999)) Copyright 2000 Booklist Reviews

Savaging young love, male adolescence, and with tender attention to detail and wildly funny results the fast food business, Anderson (Thirsty, 1997) pits a teenage doormat against a larger, smarter, nastier rival. Anthony, after seeing his girlfriend, Diana, making out with local stud, Turner, concocts an elaborate revenge: He gets hired at the O'Dermott's where Turner works, then puts into play Turner's beloved '85 Olds and a fiberglass, condiment-dispensing troll from the town's Burger Queen. Meanwhile, as he listens to his manager's mindless boosterism on one side and a cook's lurid accusations of corporate greed and hideous livestock abuse on the other, Anthony becomes Turner's designated victim, a target for put-downs, pranks, and periodic assaults. His revenge works perfectly, and Anthony knows true success when Turner's girlfriend asks him to confirm her suspicions of her boy's infidelities. Still, Anthony is a hero, and so his victory is a hollow one: ``I feel like I became what I hate most. But a clumsy, stupid version.'' Ultimately, Turner beats Anthony to a pulp in front of costumed company mascot, Kermit O'Dermott, and a battalion of corporate big shots; Diana walks away in disgust; and Anthony, having lost at love, war, and employment, picks himself back up feeling more liberated than humiliated. Anderson plots this with the precision of a fast-food marketing campaign, but his hero is more human than high concept. Did somebody say McSatire? (Fiction. 13-15) Copyright 1999 Kirkus Reviews

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