Reading Level: Young Adult
Size: 288 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: October 3, 2011
Stand Alone or Series: Stand Alone
Source: Borrowed from Library
Rating: 5/5 stars
I loved King’s The Dust of 100 Dogs and was excited to read this newest book. This is one of those books that combines a lot of interesting topics into a book that is impossible to put down; it will make you think, make you cry, and make you laugh. It was awesome!
Lucky Linderman has issues and they are mostly caused by the people surrounding him. His father never got over his grandfather never returning from the Vietnam war and his mother is trying to pretend everything is fine; both neglect parenting to escape the realities of their lives (his father through cooking, his mother through swimming). Lucky also never asked to be continual beat up and abused by the school bully Nader. His one source of escape are his too real dreams where he and his grandfather survive in the war ridden jungles of Laos.
This was a crazy, very funny and heartfelt book. I read the whole thing in one night, it was impossible to put down. It really discussed a breadth of topics; suicide, bullying, bad parenting, life in general, feminism, prescription drug abuse, infidelity, and POWs. It did this all in a way that made you laugh at one point and fight tears the next. It also had little crazy unexplained goings on as well.
This is one of those books that makes you really think as a parent and as a kid. Lucky is severely bullied; his parents aren’t bad people they just aren’t all that present at times. His dad tells him to ignore the kid and the bullying will stop, but this technique hasn’t worked for years. His mother tries to do what his dad wants and has no backbone of her own. Lucky finds himself in a position where he has to figure out how to deal with this all.
When the bullying goes to far Lucky’s mom takes him for a “vacation” with her crazy brother and his even crazier wife. Lucky meets some feminist ninjas, Lucky learns to life weights, and Lucky learns to understand the people around him better.
There is a little magic in here as well. When Lucky visits his grandfather in his dreams in the jungle he not only gets to talk out his issues, but things there are a bit too real. Lucky wakes up in the morning with real injuries and with real tokens of history. It’s a bit ambiguous but incredibly interesting too.
Seriously this book had me laughing my butt off one moment and had me nearly in tears the next. It sucked me in and I couldn’t put it down. It is crazy and unpredictable but absolutely engrossing. I am beginning to learn to not have any expectations regarding King’s writing outside of the fact that it will be awesome and absolutely unpredictable.
Overall this was an absolutely stellar book. Everyone should read it. Kids should read and learn both how bullying affects people and how to combat against it. Adults should read it so they remember how important they are to the kids in their lives. There is something in here for everyone…and it is truly entertaining. Highly recommended for everyone.