Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Charlatan's Boy

Storyline - Grady is an orphan who has only known the life of show business as Floyd passes him off as a fabled creature known as the feechie, which the boy believes he is for most his life. But as people stop believing in such things, Grady learns he isn't the wild creature and the two have to find a new way to support themselves. As they go from one idea to another, the finally land on an idea to bring back the feechie trade. They have to make people believe that feechies are beginning to attack the towns and villages. But as the feechie trade returns, something big is about to change in Grady's life.

Author - Jonathan Rogers

Age Group - 14 and up (it can get a little slow sometimes which might cause a younger age group to lose interest quickly)

Positive - Some good points in the book are that it doesn't matter what you look like to be loved and that the truth makes Grady feel good. Barbary, a friend of Grady, defends him and cares about him for who he is unlike Floyd who doesn't show Grady much kindness or approval unless he does something to make his life better. Also, Grady once defends Barbary even at his own risk.

Negative - When Grady and Floyd start making people believe that feechies are going to attack them, the boy doesn't see that he's hurting people when he tricks them. Instead, he believes that they are responsible for how they react to his actions and it is their fault for believing it is feechies. He also reasons that the things he and Floyd do are show business and it is an art instead of tricks and playing off of people's beliefs and fears to get money. Grady never seems to see this though in the book.

Writing - Jonathan Rogers wrote an funny tale about a boy who doesn't know who he is. But the story didn't seem to flow that well from one event to the next. It seemed a little disjointed and choppy. The storyline was a little weak with Grady mostly just telling how the feechie trade ended for him, the thing that happened with different trades until the rebuilding of the feechie trade, and what happened when the two had built up a scare. Grady, though, describes things in a funny way such as what "leaving them wanting more" is like which puts a smiles on the readers face. But Grady doesn't seem to learn any important lessons such as playing off people's fears is wrong. Perhaps he learned something when he was betrayed by his only friend and realizes he was a charlatan but it wasn't entirely clear. The ending, though, had a nice sentiment to it. Whether or not I read the next book about Grady is uncertain.

Personal Opinion - The book was okay. Not bad but not great either. It did have moments of cute and sweetness that made me giggle and smile. But there was a lot of telling what was happening before it got to a tale of a particular event. I think that is what made it so choppy and even slow moving and perhaps why I think it is only okay. It did give a good lesson on how we stick with things just because we know them like Grady stayed with Floyd when he had a chance to get out and have what he wanted. It also showed how, if we believe a lie long enough, we begin to believe it or how, if we tell enough lies, we begin to get good at them. Like I said, the book is okay but if someone told me they were going to read it, I wouldn't tell them not to. Someday, if I re-read it, I might have a different opinion after finding something I didn't see the first time.

Links - Learn more about the book and author at: http://www.jonathan-rogers.com/ . And take a look at the first chapter and other stuff at: http://waterbrookmultnomah.com/catalog.php?isbn=9780307458223 .

Disclaimer - In exchange for an honest review, I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

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