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The Scarlet Letter: A Book Report by Jake Peterson

Jacob Peterson, Peter Vermes's teacher's pet, writes his latest book report for Mr. Vermes's junior high English class, this time on the classic Nathaniel Hawthorne novel The Scarlet Letter.

Jacob Peterson always gets an A for effort.
Jacob Peterson always gets an A for effort.
Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

The Jacob Peterson book reports are my way of giving a soapbox to that snarky voice inside my head that constantly wonders how and why JP gets as many minutes as he does at the MLS level. Across sports, managers often have a player they keep around even as the fanbase scratches their heads and wonders why--just look no further than across town at the Kansas City Royals, who less than two months ago still inexplicably employed the noble, yet dessicated, remains of Omar Infante. Peterson, as a gritty veteran who sometimes starts despite (usually) bringing little to bear in the offensive side of the game, is not dissimilar in that singular regard.

But unlike Infante, Peterson has been on a genuine hot streak of late, and with so many games in such a condensed timeframe, Peter Vermes must, and should, ride the hot hand. Peterson's recent uptick in form is reflected in this, his latest installment of book reports, inspired by the letters home from baseball camp by one Mitch Maier at Royals Review. The previous book reports, on A Christmas Carol, the Harry Potter series, and The Crucible, are all labors of love, and as a series, they are meant only in the spirit of jest, not malice.

"A Book Report On The Scarlet Letter," by Jake Peterson

Wow, it has been a while since I did my homework, but I am so glad that I did this time. Usually my parents have to bribe me with Twinkies or extra Xbox time to get me to study, but this time I actually looked forward to Mr. Vermes's latest book report assignment, because to pass it, all I needed to do was watch a movie starring my favorite actress after Tara Reid: Emma Stone. Several years ago, she starred in Easy A, which Jon told me is basically just The Scarlet Letter set in a modern-day American high school. Plus, it had one of my other favorite actresses of all time, Amanda Bynes, so having a movie night to do homework actually sounded fun for once.

I don't know if Mr. Vermes knew all that when he assigned us The Scarlet Letter, because if he did, I bet he would have assigned us something more demanding, or at least something that we wouldn't have been able to get away with writing about by watching the best teen comedy ever since Ten Things I Hate About You came out (RIP Heath Ledger, you were my hero). And The Scarlet Letter is even set in the same time period as our last assignment, The Crucible! It seemed weird for Mr. Vermes to give us an easy assignment all of the sudden, but it feels like he has kind of been easy on us all year long.

He has even given me more playing time on our school soccer team, and just like Emma Stone, I resolved to capitalize on the chance to build my awesome reputation. I scored some goals for the team and it felt good. I know Mr. Vermes was proud of me because he told me I didn't just deserve my A for effort this time, but for actually being excellent. I thanked Mr. Vermes profusely and then he asked me where the water I was supposed to bring him was.

I still haven't talked about the plot of Easy A The Scarlet Letter yet. There's this woman, Emma Stone (although in the book, her name is Hester, and she has a kid out of wedlock after her husband is presumed dead, but like our playoff chances, is never really dead and shows up to haunt her. The kid's dad, the town pastor (sorry, spoiler alert?) feels all guilty like I do when I miss a shot I shoulda scored on, except way worse. But because I've been scoring, I don't feel guilty at all, I feel fan-freaking-tastic, like a firework about to explode on the Fourth of July or during a Katy Perry song, or off my boot during a soccer game. Man, I never get to brag about myself like that!

I think that is why I liked this movie book so much. The characters are kind of like me, they don't get to brag about themselves even though they should. While Emma Stone gives me a good idea of what high school will be like, I can't imagine what it must have been like to live in Puritanical Massachuss--New England (hey, spelling that state's name is HARD, why couldn't they have named the state something easier to spell, like Jake?). Like, first the witch trials and now big red letters people have to wear? Wow, that's messed up. I'm glad the only letters I have to wear spell my name. Seriously. Otherwise, I would never know which shirt was mine for the games, and then Mr. Vermes definitely wouldn't let me play and score goals.

But he has, and I did, so there. I know Graham thinks he's so special, playing my position and trying to score all the goals but my hair is almost as long as his and I'm the one who is lovable underdog now so maybe he'll finally stop telling me I have mustard on my shirt. I can't believe how often I fall for that.

Anyways scoring the goals makes me the most happy, even though this book didn't end happily at all. I'd say how, but I'm afraid of giving away more spoilers. This is also why I hate having to watch my tv shows and sports games on DVR. Ike and Benny always ruin the endings of things for me, it's almost like they enjoy it.

Wait, of course they enjoy it. How did I not see that? Maybe if I tell on them to Mr. Vermes, he can make them stop it. I know Justin told me that snitches get stitches, he has been on the training table for so long that there are no more stitches left, so I think I'm safe.