On his fifteenth birthday, precocious Eugene Dingman begins the amazing and death-defying diary of his summer spent as a waiter at a ritzy Adirondack resort.

From Publishers Weekly
Eugene Dingman of Bayonne, N.J., begins a diary on his 15th birthday, the day he learns that he's to be a waiter at a posh summer hotel in New York's Adirondack Mountains. The chronicle that follows comprises a marvelous blend of hyperbole and deadpan, at once poignant and hilariously funny, with characters that sparkle. Eugene finds both heaven and hell at the end of Skunksstet Misery Lane, where sits Lake Henry Hotel. Hell is being the youngest waiter, tormented by maniacal chef Bunker. Heaven is being hopelessly in love with Francophile waitress Della, who inspires Eugene to read Madame Bovary. But Eugene's love isn't returned. To add to his misery, his mother may be involved with an ex-Mafia hit man, and Eugene's long-absent father won't answer his letters. It isn't until after Labor Day that Eugene dramatically acts to establish his self-esteem. Zindel (The Pigman, I Never Loved Your Mind, My Darling, My Hamburger, etc.) masterfully captures the mixture of bravado, ingenuousness and aching self-doubt that are endemic to adolescence. Ages 12-up.

This book is hilarious, sad, and very strange. It is pure Paul Zindel and I loved it.

Give Eugene a Try!

Eugene's Diary is full or honesty and integrity. His diary tells the tale or his original, yet suprisingly normal summer, in which Eugene falls hopelessly in love, craves the attentions of his absent father, learns to tolerate his oblivious mother, befriends an Indian worker, and in turn, learns the difficulty in loving himself. Eugene's sincerity and his promise 'not to lie to his diary despite how terrible things turn out' wins the reader's admiration. More than once I found myself grinning with happinnes and sighing with embarrasment as Eugene went through another 'amazing and death defying' moment.

An American Bookseller Pick of the Lists
New York Public Library--Books for the Teen Age.