Will Clarke Still Getting Rhode Hard and Put Up Wet

Two weeks after Will Clarke's autobiographical short story "How to Kill a Boy That Nobody Likes" raised a ruckus in Rhode Island, the story resurfaces. That's because Lori Drew, mother of a 15-year-old freshman at Cumberland High School up in R.I., is still so furious over Clarke's tale that she has complained to the district's superintendent, the School Committee and the state Department of Education, according to yesterday's Providence Journal. Notes the ProJo, "She wants the essay removed from the curriculum and the teacher disciplined."

All for reading an eight-page story that appears in the collection When I Was a Loser: True Stories of (Barely) Surviving High School. And maybe you'd have trouble with it too, if you read the paper's reductive description of a story that "contains profanity and references to bestiality." Clarke, of course, is baffled over the brouhaha, telling the paper from his home in Dallas: "It’s about a pivotal point in my high school experience when I won an election and stopped being a loser in people’s eyes. ... If anything, the essay is redemptive. That’s what literature does. It gets people to try on another person’s skin and see what it’s like."

But Lori Drew doesn't like it, not one damned bit. And to prove it, she went on the radio yesterday to make her case. Writes Will on his Web site, "It's like a SouthPark Episode." That, sir, is no way to make friends. Notes Clarke further down the page, "It's really like something in a Tom Perrotta novel." That's more like it. --Robert Wilonsky

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