KING OF THE PYGMIES by Jonathon Scott Fuqua


Age Range: 14 & up
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Refusing to believe a diagnosis of mild schizophrenia, pitiful 15-year-old Penn stumbles upon the illogically inebriated presence of his alcoholic, senile, ne’er-do-well Uncle Hewitt. Hewitt, who suffers from a similar mental disorder, convinces Penn that the voices in his head signify that he is a member of a secret society of mind-reading super-humans called the Pygmies. This odd plotline may cause readers to raise their eyebrows in suspicion, and rightly so, since it requires them to wonder how much suspension of disbelief will be necessary to believe the story. They will be pleased to discover Fuqua’s endnote indicating his intention to portray a character living successfully with the disorder, but the fault lies in his balancing Hewitt’s one-dimensional, drunken dementia against Penn’s virtually simpleton-like naïveté. Their mixing is so obviously unhealthy that any mysterious spark the plot might have had is lost. Instead, readers are left to watch Penn cling to his one-way-train-wreck-like illusions until he’s finally forced to realize that he needs to get help fast—preferably in fewer than 256 pages. (Fiction. YA)

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 2005
ISBN: 0-7636-1418-1
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Candlewick
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 2005