An Engaging Romp! The Charlatan's Boy by Jonathan Rogers

Michelle VanGurp

5 Stars

November 25, 2010

This book had me from "I don't remember one thing about the day I was born. It hasn't been for a lack of trying either....I don't care who you are - when it comes to knowing where you come from, you got to take somebody else's word for it." The voice of Grady grabbed me from the moment he began to speak. Yes, speak. The words leap from the pages and ring in your ears, loud and clear and full of life.

Grady is a frontier era Huck Finn, living in an imaginary world that rings as true as if it were your own backyard. His accent and choice of words resonates as if he were sitting right next to you, telling his story over a roaring campfire. Grady is as big as life, and his story is not one to be missed.

It begins with Grady and his caretaker, the illustrious huckster, Perfesser Floyd, who is everything from a traveling salesman and ringleader, to a Phrenologist and gambler. He is Grady's only "family", his only "friend", which makes Grady's desperate and detached desire to be a part of something, anything, that much more engaging. Will he ever know who he is? Or is he destine to be whatever Floyd decides he will be? From feechie wild man to the Ugliest Boy in the World to Phrenologist's assistant, Grady becomes the part and continually struggles with his "honesty muscle"...."if a feller feels honest, if he wants to be honest but he don't get much chance to talk honest or act honest, is he a honest feller or not?" Profound thoughts from a guy who's said to be "kind of stupid."

I thoroughly enjoyed the romp through Grady's Island of Corenwald, eagerly turning the pages to discover when and if these two performers would get caught in their scams, and wondering what they would think of next to con the coppers out of the unsuspecting civilizers of the next village. It was a struggle to put the book down and go to sleep. I very nearly read it straight through in one sitting. This is a fantastic book for the young adult reader, and for anyone who enjoys a great, old-fashioned feeling story full of larger than life characters that pull you into their world and leave you aching for more. The next installment comes out in the fall of 2011. I'm sure that my copy of The Charlatan's Boy will be ratty and dog-eared by then!

I received a free copy of The Charlatan's Boy from Blogging For Books in exchange for an unbiased review.