I tried to like this, I really did, but Doug was entirely too annoying for me to care about him as a character. The repetitive and obnoxious statements of "So what? So what?", "Do you know what it feels like?" "stupid" and "I'm not lying" were enough to make me want to throw my Kindle (I didn't do that to my poor Kindle though). The "I'm not lying" was the WORST one, found on practically every page. Guess what Doug? Your constant mention of that makes me think you are lying and also makes me not give a crap. I also wasn't buying that Doug was so taken with the Audubon birds/drawings.
Schmidt not only wrote an annoying main character in Doug but also tried to combine everything and the kitchen sink into the novel. It contained an abusive father, the impacts of Vietnam, sibling issues, new town issues, poverty issues, illness issues, bullying, opening up to art/creativity and let us not forget to mention illiteracy!!
I'm sorry, I just don't understand the high ratings.