I'd Like Fries with That

I avoided My Darling, My Hamburger forever because of its title.* Don't get me wrong, I love my Big Macs; however, there is nothing romantic about the word hamburger, and I admit to certain feelings of repulsion upon hearing it. I would never write a book with "hamburger" in the title, and I wasn't so sure if I wanted to read one. Coupled with the fact that Paul Zindel's first book is called The Pigman, this did not do much for me in the way of girly appeal. Truthfully, even though My Darling, My Hamburger is the story of two high school couples, it's not really a chick book. It's more of a general teen angst fest, which is just fine by me.

Sean & Liz are the cool couple, and Maggie & Dennis are the dorkier friends that they set up. Sean has a history of suicidal thoughts and wants to do it with Liz, but she's afraid of disappointing her mom (who pushes statues of the Madonna like dope) and of getting knocked up.

Maggie and Dennis pretty much go along with whatever Liz and Sean say (which ultimately screws up their relationship). Maggie may seem kind of boring, but she's the one girls are supposed to relate to, the "nice" girl. Liz, on the other hand, gives in to Sean, ends up pregnant, and makes her BFF miss the prom to accompany her to the creepy back-alley abortion doctor. Super interesting that this was published in 1969, aka before Roe v. Wade. If characters who get abortions are controversial these days—when it's legal—imagine what this must have stirred up back then.

This book is super realistic, and therefore I found it quite depressing. There is no razzle-dazzle in Liz and Maggie's world. A skeezy older guy drives them to the abortion place, and everyone's parents are kind of jerky. The ending isn't happy or sad, just "real." I think this might be a classic because it was groundbreaking? Kind of like a precursor to Forever. But I don't see how anyone could LOVE it.

This is my first post for the Shelf Discovery Challenge! One down, five to go.

*The "hamburger" part comes from a teacher's answer to the age-old question "How do you stop a boy who wants to go all the way?" Her response: suggest going for hamburgers.


Sadako said...

I knew this book by the title but that's it. I never read it. I think the title and the title of the Pigman kind of put me off, too but I do plan to read it now that I know what it's about.

The weird thing is books with hamburgers in them usually make me SO hungry. Or grilled cheeses. Like all those BSC books where they eat grilled cheeses or cheeseburgers or whatnot. Now i want a burger so bad.

Julie P. said...

Great review. I guess even though it's depressing, I'd still like to read it because it is such a classic!

andrea jean said...

Sadako, I know what you mean about the food making you hungry! My favorite food-in-a-book is the pizza in a scene from "The Doll in the Garden" by Mary Downing Hahn. That ALWAYS made me staaarving. (Same thing whenever the BSC had a pizza party...)

Jen said...

Sleepover Friend books are the WORST! They spend 99% of the books hanging out and eating junk food.

I've always wanted to read this, but the title really put me off. After your post, I was convinced and I tried to check it out from the Seattle library, but they didn't have any copies. Perhaps it was pulled because it's too old, or the subject matter was too intense? Who knows.

I'll have to go to Half Price and hunt a copy down!