Hang with me here as I fulfill my promise to continue my theme of books serving as mirrors and windows with a review of one with a window to an unusual kind of diversity. Josh Sundquist in his memoir, We Should Hang Out Sometime: Embarrassingly A True Story, sets up a window into a life with choices: (1) wearing a prosthesis, (2) using crutches, or (3) hopping on one leg – and that’s just his major diversity. He’s survived cancer as a nine-year-old and been home-schooled until he enters high school.
The setup belies the humor that starts immediately as his twenty-five-year-old self begins a scientific look backward into why he has never been able to get a girl friend. His differences quickly become background to a socially awkward boy with the title’s pickup line, “We should hang out sometime.” His scientific approach to why none of his efforts with girls worked out (unless you count the twenty-three hours that Sarah was his girl friend in eighth grade) takes each of his female prospects through a background story and a hypothesis. His adult self tracks down the women and interviews them to check the accuracy of that hypothesis. He completes his pseudoscientific aura with funny charts and diagrams.
The humor strikes early. “Both my parents are wire-frame skinny, my mom because she’s a raw vegan, and my dad because he’s married to one.” It comes often, “A lot of people want their first kiss to be special. I just wanted mine to be in this lifetime.”
The book is an obvious choice for boys from 7th grade up who can see a mirror of hopeful awkwardness toward girls. It’s also a nice window for girls and adults who look at teenage boys and ask, “What in the world are they thinking?” His diversity of a leg lost to cancer plays its part now and then but is not central to who Josh was – just an adolescent boy who really wants a girl friend. Maybe the book will provide hope that this awkward stage will not last forever as Josh has gone on to become a Paralympian, a motivational speaker, and a best-selling author. I’ll not spoil the ending by letting you know if he ever gets a girl friend.