Title: The Charlatan's Boy
Author: Jonathan Rogers
Details: Paperback, 320 pgs
Published: August 10th, 2010 by WaterBrook Pressisbn: 0307458229 (ISBN13: 9780307458223)
Reading Level: Young Adult
“I only know one man who might be able to tell me where I come from, and that man is a liar and a fraud.”
As far back as he can remember, the orphan Grady has tramped from village to village in the company of a huckster named Floyd. With his adolescent accomplice, Floyd perpetrates a variety of hoaxes and flimflams on the good citizens of the Corenwald frontier, such as the Ugliest Boy in the World act.
It’s a hard way to make a living, made harder by the memory of fatter times when audiences thronged to see young Grady perform as “The Wild Man of the Feechiefen Swamp.” But what can they do? Nobody believes in feechies anymore.
When Floyd stages an elaborate plot to revive Corenwalders’ belief in the mythical swamp-dwellers known as the feechiefolk, he overshoots the mark. Floyd’s Great Feechie Scare becomes widespread panic. Eager audiences become angry mobs, and in the ensuing chaos, the Charlatan’s Boy discovers the truth that has evaded him all his life—and will change his path forever.
I have to say, this book ended up being much more then I ever expected. It has a fantastic cover that really draws the eye, and once you start reading it you really see how well it fits. This book is full of color. Colorful characters with crazy personalities being the top of that list.
Grady is such a fun character but you can't help but feel a little sorry for him. He has no family, no one to love except for Floyd who is really just using him as an act for all his shows. Floyd is a very colorful character and although you can't exactly like him, he is definitely interesting and he drew many a snort from me. Seriously, he is one good actor! And he says some of the craziest funniest things. But Grady was the star of the show. He has compassion, he has a conscious. He doesn't want to swindle people and the only thing that feels right to him is being a Feechie. The Feechie act feels okay to him so when they get the brilliant idea of reviving the Feechie trade by creating a Feechie scare, well things go a little crazy!
This book was seriously laugh out loud funny. I mean, seriously funny. One night I was up late reading when I snorted my tea right out my nose cause funny just popped up out of no where! Okay, so I should have known better. But you really got to watch for those funny parts!
Here's one part I want to share. This is when Grady convinces the drovers (cattle drivers) to steal back their cows from the thieves who stole them. He convinced them to dress up as Feechie folk and scare the liver out of 'em.
There was what you might call a breakdown in discipline on the part of the cattle rustlers. All over the pasture, feechiefolks was chasing rustlers around, roaring and whooping and howling, and the rustlers was shrieking and crying and falling down and scrambling back up to run some more. One of them big mountain men run past me like a streak of lightning- faster than I ever seen such a big man run in my life- ridden by a drover- feechie switching him like a quarter-racer.
The rout was so complete, it was hard to believe the drovers had ever thought they couldn't whip them. It just goes to show what fear of the unknown will do to a feller. If they had only stopped for a minute and got theirselves organized, them big rustlers could have beat back the drovers in about two shakes of a lamb's tail. But panic carried that day, and the rustler's disappeared up the drove road fast as they ever could.
pg. 244 & 245
This book would be brilliant in audio. Just that little taste I gave you shows you that it's in dialect so it's so easy to imagine and hear everything. This is one book I can see myself reading aloud to my kids in a few years. But if it's on audio I would love listening to it on a road trip.
This is a young adult fantasy but it has a bit more of a historical feel to it. It's fantasy because it's a made up country, but I can imagine it being much like that in the late 1800's. There's a bit more of a fantasy element in one part and I can see that the future book(s?) may be more fantasy.
This is a book that I can get everyone to read. I'll be passing on my copy to friends and family and I'm sure it'll get it's share of reading because I'm sure they will all like it.
WaterBrook Press seems to be a publisher of Christian literature but this book doesn't even mention God that I remember. There's nothing religious in it whatsoever, so if that would hold you back, don't let it. It's just clean, no cursing, no sex, no violence. I'm sure there are underlying messages of being a good person and all that, but there wasn't a single thing that would lead me to call it Christian lit.
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Disclosure: I received this book free of charge from the publisher in return for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own. I was not paid or influenced in any way.
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