When Tommy’s parents abandon him as baby, his grandmother Gaga takes him to her reclusive house near the top of Pike’s Peak. When Gaga casts him out, Tommy’s journey takes him to the countryside homestead of Aunt Tess—who hides surprising objects in her fizzy, voluminous hair—to Aunt Penny’s four enormous city houses and her preferred communication by ESP. In the cave-like desert home of Aunt Chelsea, Tommy learns how to hunt coyotes and the proper method of delivering newspapers. Shocked by a secret hidden beneath Aunt Chelsea’s house, Tommy runs off with a mysterious woman he meets on a bus, all while searching for a place to call home.
Paperback: 204 pages
Publisher: Atticus Books (October 30, 2012)
I have very mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, it was well written, imaginative, thought provoking, and more than a little crazy. On the other hand, it was not a kid's book, even though it is classified as one. It contains language, violence, and sexual situations (non-explicit). It is an adult book about a child.
Tommy is passed from relative to relative, each one unique in their craziness. They are passionate, violent, dysfunctional, angry, bitter, sweet, stoic, silent, and the list goes on. Tommy learns different things from his experiences with each relative and their families. He even spends some time with a mother figure that has no relation to him.
The story was written in a matter of fact way, that made me wonder if Tommy had any personality at all or if he was just content to float along and do what he was told. He didn't really seem to have strong emotions about anything. If he was told to listen, he did. If he was told to clean, to shovel, to learn, to fight, to eat, to sleep...he did.
In some ways, I absolutely loved the crazy story of this little boy and my heart went out to him. He never had a home with parents that loved him, but was passed around from relative to relative until there was nobody left to take care of him. In other ways, the book irked me beyond belief. So I'm going right down the middle on this one and giving it three stars.