I belong to a couple different programs that allow you to read books for free if you write an online review about it. I received “The Charlatan’s Boy” by Jonathan Rogers as one of those books (please note that my receiving the book for free has not affected my review in any way).
The book is about a young boy (about 12) who works as part of a two person travelling show. His mentor and “father figure” is a man named Floyd. He is a man described by our hero, named Grady, as a liar and a scoundrel. As the story starts out their show consists of Floyd being a “Feechie” expert and Grady playing the part of a genuine he-feechie (a feechie being a somewhat human like creature that lives in the swamp in tribes and is very wild). You see Grady can pull this off due to his extraordinarily ugly features. The setting is on an island that is, from the best I can tell, on the cusp of being industrialized. The villagers using horse drown carriages but there is also enough need of coal that there is an entire town devoted to mining.
I loved this book almost from the first paragraph. The story is first person and the voice is that of Grady and as such the language and grammar are not exactly proper (and Grady would tell you that hisself). It made for an immediately charming and personal type of storytelling. Think of a slightly fanciful take on Huck Finn mixed in with some “O’ Brother Where Art Thou” and you’ve about got the flavor of it. At the end of the book it says to look for the further adventures of Grady in the fall of 2011 and I certainly will be looking for it. I’ve read other “first in a series” books but this is one I will read t