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A man recalls his adventures as a mischievous youth.

Kanelous escorts the reader down the mythic trails of his childhood–through the forest where he built forts and once accidentally lit a section of the acreage on fire, where booby traps were set and pilfered shotguns fired at cans. While the bulk of the telling focuses on the author’s misadventures, there is also the implicit story of a creative boy whose preoccupied parents left him to his own devices. As a child, Kanelous spent most of his time outdoors, away from his parents: his father, who failed to acknowledge the boy’s talents, and his mother, whose obsessive attention to his grammar prevented him from ever really communicating with her. Unsupervised, the author followed his curiosity into trouble, never failing to prompt his mother’s favored tagline, “What else can this kid get into?” Free of hindsight and sentimental nostalgia, the stories fully encapsulate the irresistible energy of adolescence; yet in the crisp, unadorned prose, readers will sense the author’s anger at his abandonment. Though Kanelous finds humor in his past–his uncomfortably dangerous escapades, his mother’s infuriating grammar lessons and his father’s apathy–his hurt is palpable. These relationships, however, are largely unexplored, and the author offers scant insight into his feelings toward his parents. Without a solid structure or logical narrative progression, the author’s myriad adventures become redundant, eventually losing their charm.

While the recollections bristle with energy and colloquial appeal, there is little depth to this exploration of self-interested parents and their rascally son.

Pub Date: Nov. 8th, 2006
ISBN: 978-1-60145-077-7
Program: Kirkus Indie
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