Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Review: The Son of Rage and Love by Thomas Raymond

The Son of Rage and LoveAuthor: Thomas Raymond
Genre: contemporary
Published: May 21st, 2012
Publisher: Self Published
Rating: 3/5 Stars
Source:  I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

"12 Year-old Daniel used to run, jump, and climb on everything in sight. He played, laughed, made all kinds of noise, took things apart, and built new stuff from the pieces. Unfortunately for him, such acts of nonconformity can make inconvenient ripples on the smooth surface of wealthy suburban bliss. Years ago, Daniel was judged to have ADHD, and soon, "Pills fixed all that. They quiet most of my imagination, and the video swallows up whatever’s left." 
Nowadays, Daniel just wants a little adventure, a bit of unscripted life to clear up the fog of his mundane existence. Every aspect of his life is under strict control of a narcissistic Grandmother, and the minions she hires to run the house. Disillusioned with the "remoras" who worship his mother's money and fame, and certain his older sister is becoming one of them, Daniel has all but given up hope. "I've learned not to fuss . . . A fuss is a big mistake. . . . At least I am smart enough to just take the pill and wait for the fog to roll in." But years of heavy medication coupled with long escapes into video games have turned his world to grey, blurring his perception of reality versus fantasy.
When Daniel's mother adopts a 13 year-old, free-spirited orphan, the two boys become immediate friends and allies. The absolute authority of Grandmother is finally challenged. The ensuing struggle at once gives Daniel hope, but also threatens his sanity.
The Son of Rage and Love is the intense, at times disturbing story of one boy's quest to reclaim his own mind. In a place and time where the appearance of the perfect life is more important than freedom itself, where strong will and disruptive ideas are quickly medicated into quiet indifference, Daniel and his new brother try against the odds to sever the strings for good." ~Goodreads
There are things about being a kid that just suck.  Chief among these is the fact that your entire life is controlled by adults.  If you're lucky the adults in your life are reasonable, caring, responsible human beings.  However, when these people are nut-jobs life gets even more difficult.  This is Daniels life.  He has everything most kids dream about.  Lots of toys, huge birthday parties and all the video games he can play.  But with a controlling grandmother and an absentee starlet mom Daniel has some pretty huge issues.  Thomas Raymond writes a compelling story from Daniel's point of view and really makes his reader think about what is important in life.

LIKES:
  • Daniel:  Our main character is an all-together likable kid.  He's caring and adventurous, but he's also a completely sympathetic character.  The reader really feels for Daniel throughout the book and becomes very much attached to him.  
  • Jean-Maurice:  This kid made the book for me.  Jean-Maurice is Daniel's new brother.  A refugee, from Haiti, he has seen a lot of suffering at a very young age.  However, rather than being bitter or hard, he is bursting with life and love.  His infectious spirit is exactly what I love about young adult characters.  He puts the whole story into perspective and provides some much needed laughs along the way.
  • Grandma was an excellent villain:  Don't get me wrong, I despised this woman, but she is an incredible villain.  She is calculating, cruel and totally unfeeling.  This story could have been about spoiled rich kids, but adding in a grandmother like this gave the story more depth and the kids a better reason to complain.  She is absolutely hate-able, and that's the way I like it!

DISLIKES:

  • Janey:  Try as I might, I just couldn't feel for this character.  She is so stuck-up and rude.  I just didn't feel sorry for her at all.  I didn't really even see her place in the story except to give Daniel a sibling.  There was a plot-point toward the end where she was important but other than that she just seemed to be there to be rude and obnoxious.
  • Maya:  As with Janey, I couldn't get to know or like Maya.  She just sort of seemed like an airhead to me.  I would have liked to have seen a little more depth to her character.
  • Daniel seemed a little too grown-up sometimes:  As much as I liked Daniel, he sometimes seemed a little too old for his age.  Every once in awhile he would start to philosophize about how society brainwashes kids with video games, medication and processed food and it just didn't always feel authentic.

Overall, I really liked this story.  The characters drew me in from the beginning and the story felt relate-able.  It is a fast-paced read with a lot of heart and plenty of quirk.  


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