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Of Foster Homes and Flies (A Coming of Age Horror Novella) Kindle Edition
About the Author
- ASIN : B01IEAN0AO
- Publisher : Static Age Books (July 22, 2016)
- Publication date : July 22, 2016
- Language : English
- File size : 18781 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 165 pages
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #623,787 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Reviews with images
Top reviews from the United States
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As is his modus operandi, Chad Lutzke trims anything resembling fat from the beginning of the story and drops us right into the story. Denny is a twelve year old boy whose mom is barely there. The book has quite a bit to say about alcohol addiction, all of it relevant and poignant. Denny wakes one day to find that his mother has passed away. Instead of immediately seeking help, Denny thinks of all the ways this could derail his plans for the upcoming spelling bee, and chooses to simply...ignore it.
What follows is the story of a young boy coming to terms with the life he has lead up to this point, and what his life will be going forward. Lutzke’s gift for creating compelling characters has us wanting to take Denny under our wing from page one, and as a result, invests us in every decision he makes, no matter how trivial it might seem.
One of my favorite parts of the story were Denny’s interactions with Sam, and the role she plays in his journey, however direct or indirect you look at it. The emotional climax of the story is stunning, and I can only imagine what it must have been like for readers that had no inkling of what this author could do with 150 pages before they picked up Of Fosters Homes and Flies.
This book should be required reading. Feel free to fight me over it.
I instantly fell for Denny and my heart broke when I read about his short life that was already filled with enough troubles to fill a lifetime. From a distance, what Denny does seems like an act of childish cruelty - but how can you not understand why he had to hide his mother's death and why the spelling bee was so important to him? There is such an innocent naivety about his actions that you can only feel for and with him and hope that he will get away with it. I was just so glad about the ending, he totally deserved it. Best coming-of-age tale I've read in a very long time, if ever. Highest recommendation!
On the other hand, Mr. Lutzke knows how to tell a story, mixing major "coming of age "plots with all the pitfalls and potential benefits that can result from confronting serious issues. Growing up as a sole child in a one parent household, who happens to be an abusive and alcoholic mother, allows this latchkey kid to learn how to take care of himself at an early age. Not only that but he is forced to confront serious personal issues, including his own lack of confidence and the fear of being placed in a foster home.
While loneliness is not a typical preferred state, it does provide time (without interference) for self-analysis and planning for some "what if" scenarios. Having one or two persons in your life that you can periodically bounce some ideas off is certainly beneficial, but it is totally different than having someone in your household constantly telling you that you're worthless and will never amount to anything. Especially when you discover that your mother wishes that you were never born in the first place.
This is a story interspersed with love, logic, and personal tragedy. Loneliness is a major theme but the positive aspects of it win out in the end. Otherwise this would be a totally depressing story.
I know this sounds dark, and it is – but it is also filled with so much hope. Denny, for all his understanding of his mother, her abuse, and her addiction, still has an endearing naivety that he holds on to. Of Foster Homes and Flies is extremely well-written and the story and characters are so very well-developed for a novella. I found Lutzke’s writing akin to Daniel Woodrell’s, but far more optimistic.
I highly recommend this title for any fan of coming-of-age horror, Southern Gothics, or horror with heart.
Top reviews from other countries
Denny, a 12 year old kid, has recently lost his dad, the only person who really believed in him. Now he's left with his alcoholic mother and cute little dog. He also has a best friend, Carter, but even he annoys him at times.
So really, Denny has little to look forward to. That is, except his upcoming spelling bee.
Desperate to do well, and to make his father proud, he puts everything else in his life on hold, including the death of his mother, after he finds her dead in front of the TV in her favourite drinking chair.
Denny sits in his room, practicing the words that just might come up in the competition, trying to ignore the smell of his mother's corpse in the living room. He's terrified that if her death is discovered he will be shipped off to a foster home full of other orphans and not be able to enter the spelling bee. And it's only a week away, so not really that long to be living with a decomposing carcass, if you think about it!
We follow Denny through his everyday struggles to look after himself, even though he's done this since his father died, before he finds out the truth that his mother really was anything but loving.
Denny tries to carry on as normal, desperate for her body to go unnoticed for just a short while longer. He manages to cover it up when his mother's friends call round, and even acts as normal as possible in front of his neighbour. He becomes paranoid that the stench will be noticed if he leaves the windows open. The sweltering heat that Denny has to contend with would really do little to help with the noxious smell.
The descriptions here are brutally realistic. The rotting corpse is brought to life (not like that) perfectly and I did wonder at times what that strange smell was while reading. Not only are the 'gore' parts done well, you really feel for Denny and are desperate for him to win the spelling bee. And that's what makes this story so accomplished.
All Denny needs is a bit of love, an arm around the shoulder to tell him that everything's going to be OK. And as a reader, you feel like you want to be the one to do that, such is the compassion and empathy the writing conjures.
I usually prefer my fiction to be dark and hopeless, and although this is, it's not in the same vein, there's so much to the character.
If I was going to say anything negative, it's that Denny seems to be a lot older than 12 with what he thinks, does, and says. But I suppose he's had to grow up very quickly with all that's gone on, and if that's the only bad thing I can think to say then the majority of the story must be superb.
I'm glad I took a punt, and will definitely be reading more by Chad Lutzke.
Denny continues his day to day routine, preparing for the upcoming spelling bee at school and hangs out with his friend; all the while telling no one about his mothers death. Back at home, his mother’s body is swiftly decomposing in the sweltering Louisiana heat and Denny comes up with various ideas for dealing with the putrid smell and grotesque sight of the decaying body. The book sounds horrific but to me the most traumatising aspects were hearing about the abuse Denny had suffered prior to his mother’s death and then having to desperately try to deal with the aftermath, not to mention Denny’s epic struggle just trying to take care of himself. Out of the 50+ books I’ve read over the last year, only 3 made me cry, and this was one of them. I’m talking genuine, blub in public tears. This book moved me, the writing was spot on and I truly felt for little Denny.
If you want a great introduction to his writing, start here.
A real heart felt, coming-of-age story about a young boy who will endure the most horrific obstacles life throws at him, to accomplish his goal. His dream. To win the spelling bee.
Beautifully written and a joy to read. This is my cup of tea. Bravo, Chad.