My lovely husband brought this home on Saturday from BEA (Book Expo), so it is an advance reading copy (the book is due out August 21). I thought this was hilarious, along the lines of Roald Dahl’s Matilda. Don lives with his two parents on Horse Island. They live on a farm in a community that reveres chickens. Don loves the chickens and learns everything he can about them. His parents, on the other hand, are revolted by the chickens, and in fact seem to be revolted by Don, Horse Island, and everything about their lives. It’s clear that they lie all the time, especially about Dawn, Don’s sister whom they say died of scarlet fever. They are mean to Don, incredibly stupid, and basically rotten people–but it’s funny because it’s so over-the-top.
That’s why I totally hated the ending of the book, in which suddenly we are supposed to have empathy for them and Don chooses to stay with his lousy mother, instead of escaping from her. Were this a movie and I a test audience, I may have actually booed the ending! It just didn’t ring true to the rest of the book. Still, a very funny good read for kids. I especially liked the chicken aspect as I grew up with chickens myself!