Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Rotters by Daniel Kraus

by Daniel Kraus

Synopsis (from Daniel Kraus’ Rotters website):
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.

This book pulls you in, holds you tight and buries you deep within its pages. From the grabbing opening, right until the very end, this story keeps you wondering just what the future of Joey Crouch holds. Devious, wicked, sick, twisted, horrifying, sentimental, emotional, heart-wrenching and tear-jerking, this book runs the gamut of emotion, and certainly introduces the reader to the broad array of occurances, some terrifying, some heartwarming. This is all done artfully through Kraus’ prose, which lead you as easily into the macabre as they do into the scenes of everyday life.

A satisfying end to what was truly a rollercoaster ride of a story. It might not be something that pleases everyone, but it seemed fitting.

This is one of the most twisted, bent, interesting coming-of-age stories I have ever read. Throughout the story, Joey Crouch has to learn to be a man, fending for himself, defending what he cares for, and keeping himself alive in the most basic of senses. His father is inept at childcare, he has enemies he didn’t even know existed… enemies that are bordering on the supernatural, they are so gruesome and twisted, as well as enemies of the everyday, high school bully sort. We go through the learning process with Joey, watch him as he makes bad choices, cheer him on as he makes good ones. Every step of the way, we’re there as he discovers the secret world his father lives in, the world of grave robbers, and every step Joey takes into that world, we take with him… and I could not put this book down until that journey was over.

Believability of World:
As fantastical as this is, it is based in a certain bit of reality, and I found that anchor to true world events to make this world very believable.

Overall Grade: A+ I’ve never read a story quite like this before.