Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Far Beyond The Pale by Daren Dean

I was given this book in exchange for an honest review.

I'll start off by saying my only real complaint probably has nothing to do with the book. I got an .epub version and converted it to .mobi. I'm not sure the conversion went well, as full sentences were "re-created" in other areas which really through off my reading rhythm. I think with some editing and more proofreading, this would be good to go, if it wasn't my conversion.

I don't normally read the inside covers (or summaries, in the case of e-books) before I read. I like to be surprised. Far Beyond the Pale is about a boy named Honey Boy (aka Nathan) who is dragged all around by his fairly pathetic mother before ending up back in their home town in Missouri. Honey Boy's mom is one of the can't-keep-a-job, shacks-up-with-women-beating-idiots type of person, who often just up and leaves Honey Boy at Aunt Oleta's when she either needs a break, is feeling frisky or is outrunning the law. Or all of the above.

In the town of Fairmont, we're introduced to the local color. The colors are red(neck) and white(trash) and there really isn't a redeemable character among them. Roy, at the gas station, is fairly decent to Honey Boy, especially in the midst of the upheaval and drama his mama created, but even then, Roy is terrified of the local moron/trash/"tough outlaw" Vaughn, so Roy doesn't do a lot of standing up.

Honey Boy is just a confused thirteen year old boy, no dad, no prospects and no good role models. He goes on vandalizing sprees with Vaughn, steals with Vaughn and almost seems to look up to this lout. Honestly, the story just made me angry.

While my town isn't quite like this, it's close. People of my town could watch Gummo and could recognize it. They could read this novel as well and recognize the characters on the street. Which is exactly why I believe this made me angry. While some things shake out in the end, reading Honey Boy's inner torment as he tries to be good while being around so much evil, trying to love a mother who just isn't there, and trying to not care about the man who is his dad (oh yes, that's revealed) is just heartbreaking.

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