Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Chicken Boy by Francis O'Roark Dowell

The author of this book, Francis O'Roark Dowell, is also the author of one of my favorite books, Dovey Coe (a funny and suspenseful story of a girl who winds up in jail, accused of murdering her sister's boyfriend). It took me a while to pick this book up and actually start reading it (I mean, really, Chicken Boy??), but I have to say that I really liked it. The main character Tobin has a pretty terrible life. Since his mother died, no one really takes care of him. There's no food in the house, his dad never talks to him, and he has no friends. Only his grandmother seems to care about him, but she is basically crazy, and she and Tobin's dad hate each other. He doesn't like school, doesn't play sports and basically isn't interested in anything. Tobin gets in a fight with another kid at school, and a new kid, Henry, joins in to help him (he was getting trounced). After that, Henry just keeps pestering Tobin until he gives in and starts hanging out with him. Henry and his brother keep chickens, and Henry thinks chickens hold the secret to the universe. Of course, Tobin gets roped into the whole chicken-keeping enterprise. Even though you feel sorry for Tobin, the book is funny, so it isn't depressing. Review by Stacy Church

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