June 23rd, 2010, 8:47 am

Culinary Book of the Week: Losing Joe's Place

Gordon Korman was the comedy king for my older brother and sister. Growing up as a serious child who didn't get dry humor, it took me a while to appreciate him. When I started the book, I didn't want my character to get beat up in the prologue (which nearly happens), and what's the point of reading a novel if you already know what's going to happen?

I finally got into the book when I read the last chapter and the second-to-last chapter. Then I read the whole book and fell in love. Losing Joe's Place not only has dessert, financial woes, and stingy landlords, but a great sense of fun. Best of all, the dessert is so ridiculous that its success will make you laugh out loud.

Jason, the protagonist, is asked by his brother Joe to watch his downtown Toronto apartment. He brings his friends Ferguson ("Peachfuzz"), who comments on situation with dry wit, and Don, who hits on every girl he can find. Ferguson soon gets them laid off from their Plastics Unlimited job while Joe's friend Rootbeer takes their car for a Florida trip and comes back to root. A girl dates both Don and Peach while exploiting Jason's cooking abilities for Home Ec summer school. And every month is a scramble to pay the rent.

The moral of the story is that if you make a dessert, keep it simple. Then you can jack up prices by making it fancier. Oh, and hire an accountant and a lawyer if you're house-sitting your brother's apartment.

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