Something you should know about me: I'm a sucker for coming-of-age stories. I love reading them and I love writing them. So, when I heard Chad Lutzke's Of Foster Homes and Flies fit the bill, how could I resist?
The story centers on Denny, a fatherless twelve-year-old boy who has spent the past year wishing he'd participated in the school spelling bee, and the events leading up to this year's bee. It's difficult to go into any real detail without spoilers, but this book is simply brilliant. It depicts the loneliness and confusion of a boy that age in heartbreaking reality. As dark as it is poignant. You'll never root so hard for a kid in a spelling bee. Five stars.
Bonus: In the introduction to the book, Lutzke mentions some of his inspirations for the book, including William Goldman's The Temple of Gold. As soon as I finished Of Foster Homes and Flies, I immediately started The Temple of Gold. How had I never read this? While, for me it didn't have the power of Lutzke's book, it was a great read. It reminded me a lot of A Prayer for Owen Meany, but lacking some of the likability for the main character. Still, a very compelling read.
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