I purchased this book for summer reading for my gran-son. I'll admit that the topic was a bit odd for me ,not so for my gran-son. He was full of stories from school and thought the book was hilarious. I liked the historical references and the involvement of the principle. The science fair is always huge at our schools ,anything that opens young minds to what ifs is a good thing to me.
Sweet Farts, by Raymond Bean, is about as straightforward as they come. It is the story of Keith Emerson, a fourth-grader desperately trying to fit in after being wrongfully accused of farting in the classroom, and labeled S.B.D. (silent-but-deadly) for life.
Now, if you like fart books, fart scenarios and fart jokes, this one will probably make you laugh. It showcases the typical stuff that goes on in the fourth grade classroom, including humor, teachers who dont get it, and farting out the wazoo (no pun intended). The only problem I have with this book (other than a few minor editing issues) is that theres no relief from all that relentless farting (again, no pun intended).
The story begins with a sober discussion on how many times innocent bystanders are blamed for someone elses fart, and how it happens everyday, and its tragic. This delightful beginning had me laughing and wiping my eyes. Unfortunately (for me, at least), the book quickly takes a nauseating turn and the scenarios become darkerand stinkierby the minute, discussing everything from stank bombs in the classroom to Keiths dad leaning to the left side and putting one through the couch. Then theres the scene where Keith plays with his baby sister by holding her up by her legs, and&you guessed it, she lets one rip right up his nose ("dusting him, as Keith describes it).
Keith logically decides to make his science fair project all about making farts smell sweeter. After his mother concocts a diet for his volunteers, Keith adds various good-smelling edibles for them to consume that will hopefully make their farts less offensive. Of course, the only way to gauge the effect of each edible is&you guessed it, to have the subjects come by Keiths bedroom whenever they feel a fart coming on. Keith then takes a healthy whiff and rates the farts on a scale of one to four.
Now, Im no prude, but I must admit Keiths experiment had me turning each page with growing nausea and mounting dread. Everytime his dad or sister casually dropped by his room to drop off a bomb, I found myself getting physically ill. Really. And when I read how Keiths research reveals that all humans fart seven or more times a day, I had to slam the book shut and gather my thoughts. Excuse me, sir, but that is just waaaay too much information.
So what does all this dread and repulsion mean? It means the book will probably sell like hotcakesonce the kids discover it, that is. History reveals that kids and adults alike adored The Complete and Total Barf-a-Rama, a stomach-turning story told by Gordie Lachance in the movie, Stand By Me. In my humble opinion, Sweet Farts not only rivals Gordies story, it surpasses it by several dry heaves.
In summary, Sweet Farts isn't my favorite book, but that doesnt matter. With professional editing and a dash of couth (please, just a sprinkle&for me???), it will probably do just fine.