724 days ago today, a class act was published. It’s called Winger by a guy named Andrew Smith. 724 days later, it’s still a class act. And so today, I break down this masterpiece by the numbers. Because there’s a lot to take in from this book and someone has to do it. Here, and you’re welcome:
These include 68 times Ryan Dean West said fuck/fucking inside his head (“because [he honestly doesn’t] cuss”), 9 times out loud (uh) and 107 times it was said out loud by everyone else.
195: Other Obscenities
Why stick to ‘damn’ (23) when there’s ‘goddamn’ (26) and ‘goddamnit’ (5), right? Or ‘shit’ (38) – ‘shitty’ (5) – ‘shithole’ (2) – ‘dipshit’ (5) – ‘bullshit’ (4) – ‘shitfaced’ (1). Obviously, you’d be such a tool to read Winger using the Clean Reader app. (Does ‘jerk’, if used in a you-know-what context, count? In that case add 4.)
Sam Bosma’s work is spot on. And it comes in parcels: 12 comics-style, 4 straight-up drawings, 4 diagrams and 8 notes/letters.
1: Fourteen-Year-Old Eleventh Grader
He also happens to be in love with his sixteen-year-old best friend.
9: Hot Female Characters
From Annie Altman to Megan Renshaw to the five-out-of-five-possible-fruit-arrangements-on-your-head-in-a-Brazillian-dancer-kind-of-way-on-the-Ryan-Dean-West-Samba-mometer nurse to Rachel Altman—who is Annie’s mom and yes believe your eyes—to smoking five-out-of-five-toothless-one-eyed-hillbillies on the Ryan Dean West Drop-Yer-Pants-Boy Tote Board Nurse Hickey (that’s her name), there’s no shortage of ladies for our “142-pound sack of dehydrated failure” hero.
1: Unhot Female Character
There’s only 1 unhot female character in the world of RDW and it’s the “not-even-hot-on-Pluto” Mrs. Singer. But she sure has more than 1 epithet, which are anything but boring. “Never-spent-a-fraction-of-a-minute-in-her-life-being-hot,” “so-not-hot-you-should-never-look-at-her-when-you-have-a-hangover,” and “so-unhot-she-is-quite-likely-the-only-two-legged-female-besides-his-mom-no-wait-including-his-mom-Ryan-Dean-West-wouldn’t-want-to-run-into-at-night-when-he-is-only-wearing-boxers-and-nothing-else” are just a sampling.
1: Awesome Gay Friend
One name yo! Joey Cosentino.
4: Book References
These are Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Mosses from an Old Manse (specifically the short “Rappaccini’s Daughter”), Herman Melville’s Billy Budd, Foretopman, Mark Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court and another short story collection, In Our Time, by Earnest Hemingway.
42: Perverted Thoughts
Ryan Dean West, who is also Winger because he plays wing for their rugby team, is a boy. A boy can daydream. A boy, however, doesn’t always get away with this:
12: Times Ryan Dean West is Called Out for Being a Pervert
2: RDW-to-Parent Conversations
ONLY. These are through phone calls and both to his mom. I mean, WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU, MR. & MRS. WEST?!!
33: Self-Proclamations of Loserosity
Because what teenager doesn’t feel like a loser. “I am such a loser” appears 29 times, “I am a skinny-ass loser” 1, “I am such a fucking loser” 1 and “I’m a loser” 2.
33: Pledges of Honesty
In his defense, Winger is as honest as can be in telling his story. Proof? He repeatedly maintains “I’ll be honest” (20) throughout the novel and “to be honest” (8) and “to be absolutely honest” (2) and “to be perfectly honest” (2) and “to be totally honest” (1).
6: Times RDW Got Into Trouble
The book opens in Upside-Down Toilet World and, already, that doesn’t sound so good, does it?
3: Doctor Visits
As the book cover would suggest…
10: Betch Pet Names
Charles “Chas” Becker, a.k.a. Betch, is an asshole and he loves his roommate. Go figure! His terms of endearment for RDW include Chicken Wing, Idiot, Retard, Asswipe, Pusswing, Pussboy and Dipshit, to name some.
7: Moments RDW had to Pee
147: Hyphenated Modifiers
If you’ve no idea what these are, please refer to the unhot-female-character-count-which-is-ruled-by-Queen-Mrs.-Singer. (See what I did there?)
15: RDW Rating Systems
Because Winger is so smart he has rating systems for almost everything.
5: Pine Mountain Teachers
And there are over 800 students.
10: Times RDW Misheard Something
That include 2 from Annie, 6 from Mrs. Singer, 1 from Joey and 1 from Screaming Ned.
“”Aww,” she said. “What a cute boy.”
Okay, I’ll be honest. I think she actually said “little boy,” but it was so traumatizing to hear that I may have blocked it out.”
7: Internal Debates
Because, clearly, Ryan Dean West doesn’t have enough going on for him.
So. Serious question: do you think this is the last time I’ll ever talk about Winger? HAHAHAHA. NO.