3 out of 4 stars
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The Lunatic Son by Jack C. Whitehead is a 209-page fiction novel. It is the story of a teenage boy's journey into adulthood. The book contains themes of love, family, feuds, and coming of age.
Set in the 1960s, in the Socialist Republic of South-Yorkshire in a town named Gawmley. Tom Grey is eighteen years old, the second and last son of his parent. Tom Grey is a final class student of Gawmley Grammar School who is smart, witty, and a total rebel. He’s a singer, songwriter, and poet all rolled into one person. Tom is lost between his own barely developed dreams and fulfilling his father’s utmost wish and ambitions. He gradually falls in love with his oldest but distant friend’s ex-girlfriend, Gwen Lewis. When Gwen was pregnant and desperately needed Tom’s help. A naturally apathetic Tom is torn between doing the right thing and walking away from it all. Read up on this book to find out more about Tom’s ultimate decision.
The characters, both major and minor, were well developed. The author was detailed in his descriptions. The writing style and language structure, though modern, was very complex. I had to keep referring to a dictionary to understand many statements in the book.
I enjoyed spending time with Tom. I liked his thinking pattern; he lived true to his reputation as a Lunatic. Furthermore, I particularly enjoyed his response to most questions directed at him. He always had a quote that fits every situation. That frustrated both his family and friends. My favorite scene was the fight between him and Matt, his former best friend; the technique he used was hilarious. I assumed he was crazy to have accepted the challenge at first.
I also liked the fact that the book was not centered on the main character. Though written from a single person’s point of view, it still explored in detail the life of other characters. That gave the book more depth. Another minor character I liked was Bull Massingham, a student of Gawmley Grammar School. He was always at one competitive game or the other, and he was always in motion swaying, jogging, or flexing his knees. He failed in most of these sports, but he never gave up. I like his courage and attitude; it speaks of perseverance against all odds. Many would have given up on their dreams along the way.
However, the book was not well edited. I found many capitalization and punctuation errors that hindered my reading comprehension. This compels me to rate the book 3 out of 4 stars. Besides the poor editing, there is nothing to dislike about the book. The storyline was quite interesting, and the characterization was excellent. It was well crafted with light-hearted humor. The author did a good job; I couldn’t have predicted the ending.
In conclusion, I recommend the book to lovers of teenage dramas and romantic novels. And if you’re looking for a good read, this book comes highly recommended.
The Lunatic Son
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