Official Review: The Sword Swallower and a Chico Kid

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ZenaLei7
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Official Review: The Sword Swallower and a Chico Kid

Post by ZenaLei7 » 03 Jan 2018, 22:55

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "The Sword Swallower and a Chico Kid" by Gary Robinson.]
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4 out of 4 stars
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The Sword Swallower and a Chico Kid by Gary Robinson is divided into three parts. The first part follows the life of Duke Reynolds, the sword swallower, and the second part is about Gary Robinson, the Chico kid. The third part brings the two characters together and discusses their impact on each other.

Duke Reynolds lives for the rush and the adrenaline whenever he performs at the circus or out in the streets. He is especially known for his sword-swallowing skills, but is able to do other performances like fire-breathing or acting as a human blockhead. However, his severe alcohol addiction often gets him into trouble and even lands him in jail. On the other hand, Gary Robinson peaked in high school as the well-liked, funny student body president at Central Valley High. However, his alcohol addiction mixed with his outgoing personality lead him to a dangerous path where all he does is party and drink. All throughout college, he rarely attends class and spends most of his days drinking and partying with friends. Once he graduates college, he realizes that he has not learned a thing in college and resorts to picking up odd jobs to get by. As his life continues in a downward spiral, he starts to lose hope until he meets Duke Reynolds.

The author takes his time in developing the characters and really bringing out their faults and insecurities. What I liked best about this book is that even though Gary has a severe alcohol addiction and does things that are very shocking, I was still rooting for him. Although it seemed like Gary was always drinking, I found his character to be likable and humorous at times. Moreover, I found the interaction between Gary and Duke to be light-hearted and funny even though they were going through some serious problems.

This book is not for those who like action-packed thrillers. It focuses mostly on the characters and their development throughout the book. There is a lot of alcoholism, drugs, and nudity mentioned throughout the book. However, there is humor, especially in the dialogue between Gary, Duke, and to the other characters that they interact with. In the parts where Gary and Duke talk a lot about social and religious issues, I found the dialogue to be simple and not at all out of place.

Overall, I rate this book a 4 out of 4 stars. I noticed a few errors, but they didn’t detract from the book. Other than that, there wasn’t anything that I didn’t like about the book. I would recommend this book to those who like character-driven stories and are not bothered reading about alcoholism or drugs.

******
The Sword Swallower and a Chico Kid
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Post by GPM » 04 Jan 2018, 23:24

I cannot imagine his skills! Anyway, thanks for the nice overview of the story.
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Post by ZenaLei7 » 04 Jan 2018, 23:40

GPM wrote:
04 Jan 2018, 23:24
I cannot imagine his skills! Anyway, thanks for the nice overview of the story.
Thanks for commenting!
“The only important thing in a book is the meaning that it has for you.” - W. Somerset Maugham

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Post by TrishKissane » 05 Jan 2018, 03:44

Sounds like an interesting read; I like novels that allow the reader to look deeper if they want to or just take it at face value. Will consider getting this for my bookshelf. Thanks for the review.

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Post by ButterscotchCherrie » 05 Jan 2018, 09:03

A sword swallower would be an interesting person to know! Clearly, the interaction between the characters is crucial here, and it's interesting that they develop.

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Post by kandscreeley » 05 Jan 2018, 10:13

I think it's interesting when characters have various obvious vices, but the author creates them in such a way to make you root for them anyway. Glad you enjoyed this one. Thanks for the review.
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Post by ZenaLei7 » 05 Jan 2018, 12:52

TrishKissane wrote:
05 Jan 2018, 03:44
Sounds like an interesting read; I like novels that allow the reader to look deeper if they want to or just take it at face value. Will consider getting this for my bookshelf. Thanks for the review.
Thanks for commenting!
“The only important thing in a book is the meaning that it has for you.” - W. Somerset Maugham

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ZenaLei7
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Post by ZenaLei7 » 05 Jan 2018, 12:53

ButterscotchCherrie wrote:
05 Jan 2018, 09:03
A sword swallower would be an interesting person to know! Clearly, the interaction between the characters is crucial here, and it's interesting that they develop.
I agree. Thanks for commenting!
“The only important thing in a book is the meaning that it has for you.” - W. Somerset Maugham

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Post by ZenaLei7 » 05 Jan 2018, 12:53

kandscreeley wrote:
05 Jan 2018, 10:13
I think it's interesting when characters have various obvious vices, but the author creates them in such a way to make you root for them anyway. Glad you enjoyed this one. Thanks for the review.
Yes, that's what I really liked about this book. Thanks for commenting!
“The only important thing in a book is the meaning that it has for you.” - W. Somerset Maugham

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Post by CommMayo » 05 Jan 2018, 17:20

I'm intrigued by the three part format where the author deals with each character individual and then brings them together for the final third. I can't think of other novels that do this. Glad to hear you enjoyed the book!

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Post by Kat Berg » 05 Jan 2018, 23:19

I am trying to figure out what a "human blockhead" is! I have never heard of this, and I have a few creative ideas, but...
This books sounds like it might be something I could enjoy when I am in the mood for a more relaxed, character/relationship driven read. Thanks for the review.

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Post by ZenaLei7 » 06 Jan 2018, 13:24

CommMayo wrote:
05 Jan 2018, 17:20
I'm intrigued by the three part format where the author deals with each character individual and then brings them together for the final third. I can't think of other novels that do this. Glad to hear you enjoyed the book!
Thanks for commenting!
“The only important thing in a book is the meaning that it has for you.” - W. Somerset Maugham

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Post by ZenaLei7 » 06 Jan 2018, 13:25

Kat Berg wrote:
05 Jan 2018, 23:19
I am trying to figure out what a "human blockhead" is! I have never heard of this, and I have a few creative ideas, but...
This books sounds like it might be something I could enjoy when I am in the mood for a more relaxed, character/relationship driven read. Thanks for the review.
It's a circus act where you drive a nail through your nostril and into "your skull". Thanks for commenting!
“The only important thing in a book is the meaning that it has for you.” - W. Somerset Maugham

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Post by inaramid » 06 Jan 2018, 21:35

This seems...different. The fact that the author can still make you root for a character despite his flaws is a very good sign indeed. I hope the errors get fixed in reprints/newer editions or something.

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Post by ZenaLei7 » 07 Jan 2018, 01:32

inaramid wrote:
06 Jan 2018, 21:35
This seems...different. The fact that the author can still make you root for a character despite his flaws is a very good sign indeed. I hope the errors get fixed in reprints/newer editions or something.
Thanks for commenting!
“The only important thing in a book is the meaning that it has for you.” - W. Somerset Maugham

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