The Charlatan’s Boy by Jonathan Rogers

Friday, February 18, 2011 10:47 AM Posted by Savanah Jeanne

"As far back as he can remember, the orphan Grady has been tramped from village to village with a huckster named Floyd, pulling a variety of hoaxes and flimflams on the good citizens of Corenwald frontier. It’s a hard way to make a living, made harder by the memory of fatter times when audiences thronged to see Grady perform as “The Wild Man of the Feechiefen Swamp.” But what can they do? No one believes in feechies anymore. 
Unless Floyd and Grady can make them believe.
Armed with tricks of their trade, the charlatan and his boy set out to create another Great Feechie Scare, which Floyd swears will make them rich. But while Grady longs for the days when he played the feechie, he can’t stop wondering if, after a life of lies, he’ll ever know who he really is." 
~Back Cover

Plot: 4 Stars
I really like the find-your-own-way tale that the story rides. I also like the sort of, unexpected ending. I say “sort of” because through the entire story I was looking for something to pop out at me and make me say “wow!” or “no way!” I was looking because the whole story seemed pretty simple and straight forward. Everything that happened I expected, except the riding a bull bit…did not expect that. I was actually scared for Grady’s life and wanted to laugh at the same time.  I wish there were more times like this (with the unexpected bull riding bit and the humorous cow talking). If there were, I think that the last bit, which was more exciting than unexpected, would have really made the story.

Characters: 3 Stars
I liked not knowing about Grady or Floyd’s past. However, I got so little development from each character that I actually craved the past of these characters. And not in a good way, it wasn’t a crave and then satisfying ending, it was a crave and irritation in not knowing because the characters stayed the same. They never really changed.   However, I will say that I liked Grady’s character because his thoughts were simple and his actions were realistic. This made his character stand out, I think.

!!!Spoiler Alert!!!!

Lessons3 Stars
The overall lesson in this book, that I found, would be that everyone has the same human nature; it ugly in every sense of the word. The very last two lines of the book are, “Every one of these folks is as ugly as me. And aint that beautiful?” To apply this o my own life, I would have to say that it is a comforting feeling knowing that every one has inherited the same nature. But what I find beautiful about it is that God, so beautiful in his perfection, has saved me from this ugly nature. Throughout this entire book, Grady comes in contact with so many different kinds of people, all ugly in their own way. I guess this is why I feel like I can say that I wish he had expanded upon what made their (the feechies) “ugly” so beautiful, because it wasn’t that they were all ugly together.
However, if you look at the book in an entirely different way you could get an entirely different lesson from it. I could also see this just being a coming of age-like book or a finding-your-way kind of book.  Either way, the above lesson is what I took away from it.

Action5 Stars
There wasn’t a whole lot of action going on here.  Which was totally fine, and what action was included was absolutely great. It was acceptable, clean and fit in the story.

Romance: 5 Stars
There was none.

Length4 Stars
The length of the story really was unnecessary. There were times when I really wanted to skip certain parts because they seemed unnecessary. The good news is that there weren’t a lot of these times.

My overall score is 4 stars.

Look for an interview with the author shortly! 

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