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TALES OF THE MADMAN UNDERGROUND by John Barnes

TALES OF THE MADMAN UNDERGROUND

(An Historical Romance 1973)

By John Barnes

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: May 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-670-06081-8
Publisher: Viking

With excruciating, mind-numbing detail and a lot of swear words, 17-year-old Karl chronicles the first six days of his senior year. Karl’s biggest antagonist is his mother, a crazy cat lady who drinks like a fish, acts like a teenager and talks like a second grader. Because of his mother, Karl works four jobs and squirrels away his money in jars around the house. His friends at school enjoy equally dysfunctional lives. In less than a week, Karl redefines his friendships and almost loses his virginity twice. At its high points, the story moves swiftly through witty dialogue and heartbreaking observations of parental cruelty. At its low points, which far outnumber the high ones, Karl is obnoxious, even terrifying in his antisocial behavior, and his friends are unbelievable in their ridiculousness. Due to its length and the frustration of waiting some 100 pages between the start and continuation of some story lines, only the most stubborn of readers will stay past the 37 dead cats to the tiresome, if very tidy, ending. (Historical fiction. 14 & up)