Book Review #30: Rotters by Daniel Kraus

Grave-robbing. What kind of monster would do such a thing? It’s true that Leonardo da Vinci did it, Shakespeare wrote about it, and the resurrection men of nineteenth-century Scotland practically made it an art. But none of this matters to Joey Crouch, a sixteen-year-old straight-A student living in Chicago with his single mom. For the most part, Joey’s life is about playing the trumpet and avoiding the daily humiliations of high school.

Everything changes when Joey’s mother dies in a tragic accident and he is sent to rural Iowa to live with the father he has never known, a strange, solitary man with unimaginable secrets. At first, Joey’s father wants nothing to do with him, but once father and son come to terms with each other, Joey’s life takes a turn both macabre and exhilarating.

Daniel Kraus’s masterful plotting and unforgettable characters make Rotters a moving, terrifying, and unconventional epic about fathers and sons, complex family ties, taboos, and the ever-present specter of mortality.”

If you are a horror buff or you like good writing and don’t mind the horror aspect of this novel then you need to read it. What can I say more? This novel was probably one of the best books I have read. It wasn’t perfect, but it was perfect in the way the story went and played out.

Joey was completely relatable and his personality changes quite a bit in the novel (for better and for worse), but you still consider him to be a likeable character.

Everything was described so gorgeously–especially the horrific bits–and I wanted to eat it all up, (call me Hannibal Lecter).

What I really liked was the things that happened to Joey. Things just got worse and bleaker for him as the novel went on and I loved it. Call me a sadistic bastard all you want, but I found this to be one of the great factors of the novel. Kraus, like many authors, likes to put their characters through hell.

Overall, this novel was great and I would like to see more from Daniel Kraus.

My Rating
My Rating
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2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

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A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 680 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 11 trips to carry that many people.

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Book Review #25: With or Without You by Domenica Ruta

A Haunting, unforgettable mother-daughter story for a new generation–the debut of a blazing new lyrical voice

Domenica Ruta grew up in a working-class, unforgiving town north of Boston, in a trash-filled house on a dead-end road surrounded by a river and a salt marsh.  Her mother, Kathi, a notorious local figure, was a drug addict and sometimes dealer whose life swung between welfare and riches, whose highbrow taste was at odds with her hardscrabble life.  And yet she managed, despite the chaos she created, to instill in her daughter a love of stories.  Kathi frequently kept Domenica home from school to watch such classics as the Godfather movies and everything by Martin Scorsese and Woody Allen, telling her, “This is more important. I promise. You’ll thank me later.” And despite the fact that there was not a book to be found in her household, Domenica developed a love of reading, which helped her believe she could transcend this life of undying grudges, self-inflicted misfortune, and the crooked moral code that Kathi and her cohorts lived by.

With or Without You is the story of Domenica Ruta’s unconventional coming of age–a darkly hilarious chronicle of a misfit ’90s youth and the necessary and painful act of breaking away, and the overcoming her own addictions and demons in the process.  In a brilliant stylistic feat, Ruta has written a powerful, inspiring, compulsively readable, and finally redemptive story about loving and leaving.

Upon reading the description of this story, I thought it was going to be a very emotional and powerful read, something to make me think about my own life and such. This book didn’t really achieve that.

Sure, it wasn’t bad. Not at all, However, I wish Ruta would have put more emotion into her writing, something more reflective so it can keep me hooked. This novel wasn’t perfect, but it was still an enjoyable read.  Stepping into someone else’s shoes for a while made me enjoy this story even more.

I also really loved the fact that Ruta touched upon her own addictions and how they affected her life.  I do recommend this read for anyone who enjoys memoirs or reading about addiction and how it affects the family etc.

Sorry, this was short and sweet, but there’s really not much else to say about this novel.

My Rating
My Rating