"They call me King Dork……Well, let me put it another way: no one actually calls me King Dork. It’s how I refer to myself in my head, a silent protest and an acknowledgment of reality at the same time." -King Dork
Being a dork is a universal trait. Unfortunately, the dork factor is seldom appreciated in its infancy.
Both teachers and peers take any hint of dorkdom as a personal threat, proof that said dork has managed to break free from the accepted group think and might have the courage to question the established power structure. Independence makes dorks the first target for ridicule, or much worst.
A few lucky dorks survive the awkwardness, and the beatings, to become successful adults–think Bill Gates–even less grow up to become bona-fide rockers. To Frank Portman’s credit, he is a dork who can rock and write.
Portman has penned a wickedly funny book which documents the mental and physical abuse which "the normals" fondly looked back on as the high school experience.
Think of King Dork as the handbook which should be bundled with each Freaks and Geeks box-set.
I’m guessing King Dork takes place in the 80’s. It is a time without cellphones, My-Space or the Internet. This is a world populated by kids soon to be labeled Gen-X and the smug boomers who fail to impress them.
If you grew up in broken schools reading The Catcher in the Rye–thinking the book was an over-rated let down–King Dork is calling your name. Portman gleefully stomps on the long boomer shadow, and destruction, which is cast over the next generation.
In fact, King Dork sticks it to the greatest generation in a way that is both twistedly funny and long overdue.
In the end, though, the attempt to save the world by forcing people to read The Catcher in the Rye and dressing casually and supporting public television and putting bumper stickers on Volvos and eating only weird expensive food and separating your cans and bottles and doing tai chi and going to the farmer’s market and pronouncing Spanish words with a cartoon-character accent and calling actresses actors and making up your own religion and so forth-well, the world refused to be saved that way. Big surprise. On the other hand, no one could ever mistake Hilmont High School for a prep school, so at least you accomplished that. I mean, calling it a school involves the kind of generosity of spirit that in other circumstances might get you the Nobel Peace Prize nomination or something. You stuck it to the old man, killed half of your brain cells, and dumbed down the educational system: you are the greatest generation.