Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Early praise for War Boy

Early praise on the back cover of Kief Hillsbery's book, War Boy, says, in part: "You won't be able to put it down."

I was ready to put it down twice before I reached page seven. I stuck it out for a bit longer, perhaps put it down for good at about page thirty-five. The novel might include a lot about homelessness. Fourteen-year-old Radboy, a deaf-mute, is saved in the nick of time by his good friend, Jonnyboy, who arrives to see Radboy's father about to slit his son's throat.

The two boys flee together, heading towards Los Angeles where Jonnyboy has connections, ending up in San Francisco instead. I did not catch how the pair caught a bus out of town after sleeping at least one night on Radboy's father's boat.

The early praise for War Boy also says the "language is galloping, frenetic, all-consuming, reckless even, but never out of control...". To each their own. It took me a while to make sense of words like kweerboyz and kewl. I started using non-words like U or sk8er long before the Internet was as common as televisions in households, thus those type words did not throw me. Yet both types of language made understanding a sentence hard. Not a smooth read for me.

Radboy is telling the story. It may be that the first chapter starts with the story's end, then backs up to tell events leading up to that ending. In between the telling, Radboy throws in info from the past, like his father's trial for murdering his mother, his sister's conversion to born-again Christians, how he met up with Jonnyboy and so on.

I love to watch skateboarders, but found reading about the pair's skateboarding boring. There is probably an audience for this book, but not for this old grandma who does not know the lingo.


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