Narrator: Rick Gregory
on 18 September 2017
Length: 6 hrs and 36 mins
Genres: Contemporary Fiction, Horror
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Brian Boozer is a good kid in a bad situation. At 13, he's already endured the pain of losing his father and the agony of living with a step-father who hates and abuses him. At school, Brian suffers even more torment, delivered by bullies who seem to enjoy making his life miserable. The only bright spot in Brian's life is Carly, the girl on whom he's had a crush for years.
As his relationship with her evolves, so do the problems at home and the confrontations at school. A distressed Brian retreats further into himself, hiding behind the wall he's built as protection from the cruel chaos around him. Eager to be free of his troubles, Brian fights to be heard in a world that won't listen.
©2011 Kimberly A. Bettes (P)2017 Kimberly A. Bettes
This is a very intense book. Bettes doesn’t pull any punches in describing the various abuses Brian has to endure. This book is not for the feint of heart nor for those looking for a simple gorefest. While this is not an easy book to get through, it does a great job of showing how a good kid can be pushed to that breaking point where they lash out at the world around them.
I recently listened to Bettes’s Exodus and the few issues I had with that novel don’t exist here. There’s no gore and violence simply for shock value. She also doesn’t gloss over the serious issues in Brian’s life. His step-dad is abusive in more ways than one; he’s mostly unemployed, a slob, verbally abusive, and also sexually abuses him. Then there are the bullies at school. Bettes gives a full detailed description of what it means to have your head shoved in a used toilet. Then there are all those that could have or should have helped Brian but didn’t.
Bettes walks that tightrope of capturing harsh circumstances without sounding angsty and she does it with grace. This book stirred up quite a number of emotions in me and brings up some serious points about bullying. If adults stuck anyone’s head in a toilet, police would be involved and yet if it’s only kids involved, we stick the Bullying Label on it and often nothing serious is done.
In the end, while I don’t agree with all the actions Brian took I certainly understand how he ended up where he did. That makes this a quality book. Tough subject, worthy book. 5/5 stars.
I received a free copy of this book.
The Narration: Rick Gregory really poured himself into this book. He was great as Brian, a 13 year old going through tough stuff. I also liked his teen voice for Carly, the love interest of the tale and Brian’s friend. He didn’t blink at the harsher scenes but rather imbued the characters in those scenes with emotion. And there’s plenty of nuanced emotions in this story, which Gregory did a great job at capturing. There were no technical issues.
This review first appeared on DabOfDarkness.com