Title: The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys
Author: Chris Fuhrman
Recommendation: A rather adult-themed YA fiction novel, well written, but not for everyone.
Summary: Francis is a 13-year old boy in 1970s who goes to a Catholic school in Savannah. The book is a story about him and his friends going to school, getting into trouble and growing up.
Reactions: I spent some time trying to decide who is the intended audience of this book. A book full of 13-year olds suggests YA, but the themes present in the book are rather adult and in some ways it seems more of a reminiscence type story.
In some ways this was a fascinating book due to its exposition of life in Savannah in 1970s. The typical life of a family in that time, the religiousness, the racial politics of that time are all present on the sidelines of the book and paint a vivid picture.
At the same time I had trouble connecting to the characters of the book, most of them being adolescent boys. The only girl in the book was probably the hardest to relate to, actually. Also in spite of the upbeat tone of the book, the events of the book often conveyed a rather depressing feeling. Francis drinks non-stop, gets beaten by his father with and without cause, and deals with some rather unpleasant facets of life.
Overall, I did enjoy the reading and I can see how someone whose childhood resonates more with the characters' could really like the book. I did find some of the more adult things that happen in the book a bit disturbing and I think enjoyed it less overall for the lack of a personal connection to the events. Still very well written and I would recommend it to those who can connect to teen boys better than I can.