You Don't Know Me by David Klass
My rating: 1 of 5 stars
I have to admit... I am abandoning this book. I wanted a really gritty, realistic young adult novel that I might be able to recommend to some of my boys. But this? This is an angry rant from a very angry character. I don't see any redeeming or likable qualities, and I am on chapter 5.
It is similar to stream-of-consciousness writing which is difficult to do well. And this main character has some major issues. Mom is remarried to a man that beats him and insults him mercilessly. He seems bright as far as academics go, but his attitude toward the world is just one of anger.
In chapter one, he must have said, "You don't know me" thirty times. Maybe I exaggerate a little, but after the first time or two, I think it sank in... I don't know him. I'm glad I don't. He is unlikable.
At one point, he says he is floating 20 feet above his backyard. He also states that his real father named him after a toilet (John). He calls his step-father "the man who is not my father." One of his teachers, the one he calls Mrs. Moonface, assigns too much homework. He calls school "anti-school." He nicknames a classmate's nose "Beanman's Beezer." He talks about Glory Hallelujah as though she is ugly, has greasy hair, and is stupid. Then he decides to tell the reader the truth, that he is in love with her. His tuba is not a tuba; it's a frog. Delusional! And he repeats that the reader doesn't know him and will never know him. And for all of his delusions, sarcasm, and anger, he tells the reader he is not to blame.
I just couldn't read any more. I found the cynical protagonist had no redeeming qualities. I just couldn't keep reading the negativity. As I was reading, the words that kept playing through my mind were, "This is so stupid." And you can't fix stupid! Maybe one day I will pick it up again and give it another shot, but if the first five chapters are an indication of the rest of the novel, I'm not sure I can finish it.
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