“People don’t see as much as you think.”
I just didn’t find this story as impressive as some people did, which is why I gave it three stars.
Joey Crouch is a sixteen year old who lives with his mother in Chicago until his mother dies in a car accident. He’s sent to Iowa to live with his father, but he’s never met him. His father is very weird, to say the least. At first, his father is gone a lot and Joey isn’t sure why and there’s never food in the house. Their house smells like rotting flesh and the smell sticks to his body when he goes to school. In school, he’s teased and bullied; his classmates call his father the trash man and some kick Joey in the balls just for the sheer pleasure of causing Joey pain. One of his teachers is abusive and likes to embarrass Joey in front of his class. He’s miserable and several times, he calls his Chicago friend Boris for help with no luck. Joey discovers what exactly his father does for a living and decides he wants to prove to his father that one, he’s not a wimp and two, he can be good at father’s job.
Joey is one of those characters that you’re not sure if you want to feel sorry for him or if you want to knock some common sense into him. The characterization is very well done – vivid personalities that leave you feeling frustrated and angry.
At times, the story was absurd, especially when his father was trying to teach him to dig faster, so he’d bury his homework six feet in the ground and woke him up at sunrise to retrieve his homework before school started. Who does that? That’s the weird father-son bonding that went on.
I listened to the audiobook and the narrator did an OK job. I heard about Rotters from my father. He read it and wouldn’t stop talking about it. He couldn’t believe it was classified as a YA book because of how graphic it was. He’s a horror fan and he said it was almost too graphic even for him to finish. That immediately got my attention, so I had to read it and find out for myself.
This wasn’t as gory as I was expecting, which made me feel a little disappointed. I was expecting a gory horror novel that would be both fascinating and gross, but it wasn’t. Don’t get me wrong, it has graphic descriptions of corpses including the conditions of their bodies and in some cases, how they died. Those descriptions didn’t happen until later in the book.
The first half of the book was depressing since Joey was dealing with his mother’s death and having to uproot his life to live with a man he’s never met. The second half was the graphic part and more of the reason why I wanted to read it in the first place.
There were several times when I zoned out because I lost a little bit of interest. It’s not the best horror novel I’ve read, but if you like bizarre novels where characters are doing things you wouldn’t believe, then it’s worth the read.