Friday, May 22, 2009

Tales of the Madman Underground by John Barnes

Set in 1973, Tales of the Madman Underground tells the story of Karl Shoemaker. A senior in high school, he's spent every Monday morning with a therapy group with around six other kids. Together they form Madman Underground. This year a new girl joins the group, Martinella, or Marti, as she likes to be called. But this year, he decides he's not going to get another ticket into therapy. He's going to be normal, but after being friends for so long he can't just walk away. Can he?

The plot in this book is incredibly compex and intriguing. Karl's home life is an absolute wreck. His father is dead, and his mother has turned into a drunk and a drug abuser. He holds four jobs, almost constantly working. This was truly one of those books where I wasn't sure what was going to happen once I turned the page.

The setting in this book was very accurately portrayed. From Karl's mom who is the total hippie-type, to everyone's reaction concerning controversial topics like racism and someone being a homosexual, it all definitely reminded me of the 1970s. Okay, I can't exactly "remember" the '70s, but you get my point.

I also really liked the cover of this book. I love the simplicity of it.

I did have a problem with this book, and that was there was a lot of cussing and sexual references. Even Karl's thoughts were proliferated with cussing. I feel like I could have enjoyed the book much more without those things being resurrected nearly every page.

Overall, I think this book had a strong story line with really interesting characters.

My rating- 3/5 stars

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