An incredibly powerful coming-of-age story that sticks with you.
This was the first thing I’ve read by Chad Lutzke, it will NOT be the last. At first, I was trying to figure out just what the genre here was. By the time it ended and I was wiping the tears from my eyes and literally saying “THAT WAS AMAZING” out loud to an empty room, I realized the best way to define this book is “emotional horror”.
There are no creeping boogeymen, no monsters, not even any real human villains, other than we get the impression that the boy’s mother may well have been one of sorts. But the way this builds the tension up to a fever pitch as the boy is hoping to place or win the coming spelling bee while his mother rots in their living room takes you to places of childhood fear and angst that all happen on an emotional level. It was truly brilliant.
The prose was perfect for this. I really felt like I was reading a memoir written by a child, but without any lack of sophistication on the writing front at all. It just connects to you the way your kid’s story might if they were pouring their heart and soul out to you. Masterful seems too trite, but I guess I’ll use it, because that’s what this was.
Not a word is wasted in this brief–but perfectly executed–masterpiece. Every note rings true, and I can’t imagine a single person not adoring this, regardless of taste. It’s that good.
Don’t miss this one. I finished this days ago, and I cannot stop thinking about it. I’ll likely revisit this one several times, which is not something I do very often. 5/5-stars. Find it in print, digital, and audio here.