Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Chicken Dance

The Chicken Dance
by Jacques Couvillion, 2007, 326 pages.

One blurb-er on the front cover of this too-real story says that reading the book is like having Napoleon Dynamite as your best friend. The stories are similar in some ways -- they both have misfit protagonists, chickens, 4-H (or FFA) contests, etc.

However, I didn't find this book as funny as Napoleon's story. Perhaps that was just because it wasn't a movie. But also, Don is a pre-teen and his unfailing optimism in such dismal circumstances made me feel pretty sorry for him. His family, though it would seem normal, is indisputably dysfunctional. They've got some secrets that are dying to be dug up. And as our hero starts to realize his potential as a great chicken farmer, he also realizes that things aren't what they've seemed for so long.

This book might have been more fun if I had read it aloud -- when I was explaining bits and scenes to friends we got some great laughs that I hadn't had just reading it on my own. This debut novel is appropriate for readers of all ages, but will probably be most appealing to those 12 up.

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