Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Styrofoam Throne - David Bone

Coastal California, 1984…with school season just ending, sixteen-year-old Donovan wants nothing more than to work inside Castle Dunes, the seaside haunted attraction that his mom wishes him nowhere near.
 School has just ended for the sixteen-year-old, macabre weirdo Donovan.  This year, he has his sights set on Castle Dunes, a horror attraction nearby.  The only problem?  He's broke, and his mom won't help whatsoever.  However, after getting out of working with his mom, he finally finds himself at Castle Dunes.  Before he knows it, he's now in, an employee at Castle Dunes.  There, he makes friends and tries to make the most out of his dream for the summer.

My rating: 3.5 out of 5

This one actually took me a while to read, mostly because I didn't connect with the protagonist.  So you're a weirdo, big whoop.  I suppose the thing is, he wasn't likeable, but he also wasn't funny.  I compare a lot of unlikeable protags to Yossarian from my all-time favorite novel, Catch-22, and while Donovan is definitely on the same level as Yossarian when it comes to being a self-centered and generally unlikeable human being, the writer didn't give wit to it, or give self-awareness to the writing, like "yeah, this guy's an asshole, but he doesn't think so".
For one thing, the way he treats his mother is pretty awful.  Granted, she ain't exactly the best mother of the year, but she did get him a job, and she did raise him.  I would never give my own mother the amount of disrespect Donovan gives to his.  I know that the author meant to show that Donovan lived in a loveless, borderline abusive environment, but throughout the story it seemed that Donovan was about just as bad as his mom.

I was really about to give up on this book, but then Renaldo appeared.  If there was one character in this entire book I cared about, it was Renaldo.  When he showed up, it was like the story came to life; the plot actually took off, the humor became surprisingly funny, and I wondered why I hadn't enjoyed the book before.

As the story progresses, it's very obvious that the title fits: to Donovan, Castle Dunes is the place to be.  However, it's run by someone only in it for the money, the "castle" itself is crumbling, and the employees are quite often high or slacking off.  And despite all of this, despite the fact his job is a janitor who refreshes the rat traps that get their daily fill of rats, despite getting beaten up multiple times, despite everything, Donovan thinks this is a swell place.  Really, he's an interesting foil to Colin - the local famous Count Dracula from the commercials, in that they are so sucked up in this castle and its crumbling walls that they take it over something better.  And in Colin's case he literally sits on a styrofoam throne.

I felt the ending to be really great up until the last scene.  I dunno; I was really expecting something more, but it ended extremely abruptly - it almost felt as if my call was suddenly dropped, you know?  Right when I was getting invested in our protagonists life, boom, over.

All in all, it was a fun coming of age story.  I recommend it, giving it a 3.5 out of 5 stars.
Styrofoam Throne has extreme language and some sexual content, so be advised.

You can find Styrofoam Throne here

No comments:

Post a Comment