Thursday, August 18, 2011

Review: The Family that Wasn't by Gene Twaronite

Book Description:

Paperback, 128 pages
August 24, 2010, iUniverse

The Family That Wasn't is a humorous fable of how our families live inside us. Geared for middle grades (ages 8-12), it will also appeal to readers of all ages. The 13-year-old narrator, John Boggle (whose real name is John Bazukas-O'Reilly-Geronimo-Giovanni-Li Choy-Echeverria), finds his family so impossibly crazy that he cannot stand living with them another moment. He invents a new perfect family so convincing that he suddenly finds himself living inside this imaginary world.

But John finds that he too has changed. He sees his too perfect image in the mirror and begins to wonder if it is all some kind of mistake. Only trouble is, now he can't remember who he is. He only knows that he must leave this family at once. His sole clue is the name, John Boggle.

To find his true family he embarks on a cross country quest. Along the way he encounters other characters who have also lost touch with their families. Together they must find a way to reconstruct the connections to bring back the family that once was.

Source: Gene Twaronite (Thank you!)

My Thoughts:

John Boggle was not comfortable with his family. Each member had his-her own brand of craziness. His brother, Bruno, was a giant who was fond of performing surgery on animals and singing the blues with his harmonica and zither. His half-sister was weirdly fascinated with the planet Venus and claims the existence of Venusians. His mother works at a garbage collecting facility, constantly bringing home ‘good trash’ that they could still use. Her collection ranges from disgusting to out of this world. His grandmother, although too old, was strong and wise. She was the sanest of the family.

To make things worse, his aunt, Sister Mary Majello came to live with them after her convent got converted into a condominium. She was a member of the Sisters of Creation, a group of nuns that believed all creatures were created equal in God’s eyes. And a mysterious person, Vinnie, who claimed to be his uncle, had showed up on their doorstep saying he was from Lithuania. The clash of personalities usually ended up in complaints and arguments. There was never a dull moment in the family. But John was sick of it all. He wanted a better family, a perfect one. So he began to escape his reality through writing one of his own.

The search for his family was long and at some point, totally hopeless. But he didn’t give up. The perseverance to find his family and find his purpose was admirable. Soon he found people who experienced the same thing. They lost their families and were bound together by that similarity. Could they find them before it’s too late?

The Family that Wasn’t is a funny fantasy that will appeal to both young and old readers. I felt that I was watching a cartoon show in my head. Readers will like this light, hilarious and crazy read. But it’s also filled with good content, tackling the relationships and issues within a family; it unravels the imperfection and shows the beauty of it.


1 comment:

  1. Wow, sounds like such a quirky and interesting family John has! Although I can imagine after a while it can get overwhelming, understandable why he'd want a 'better' one. Don't we all wish that sometimes? Yet when push comes to shove, you wouldn't trade the ones you have for anything :) This sounds like a good read, great review Precious!