Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Children and the Wolves by Adam Rapp

Hoo boy. This book. Friends, this book took me 4 days to read, perhaps a personal record for slowness (there was only around 150 pages). I’ve read Adam Rapp before. I knew what I was in for. I was well aware this was not going to be a fun-fest. The thing about Adam Rapp though, is that, well, the dude can write.

The writing in this book is spare to the point where it is almost starving. A fitting match for characters who are starving for love, attention, and frankly any sort of morality.

We’ve got Bounce, our leader with definite sociopathic tendencies. She’s rich. She’s neglected. She’s intelligent and probably just this side of insane. She’s also got a crew of two that she keeps well supplied with pharmaceuticals. Orange, also perhaps sociopathic and Wiggins, our lost boy who knows he’s got a “badness” inside him, but in all this mess he’s our only beacon of light. A weak light, but believe me, you’ll take it.

Together they kidnap a four year old girl and lock her up in a basement. The reasons for this are cloudy. *highlight for SPOILERIFIC discussion* The plan is put into place by Bounce. Her motivations are unclear. Is it because the young girl seems loved, whereas Bounce is neglected by her wealthy parents (to a point where her parents are so busy on their European vacations – where they send her pictures of them sightseeing – but refuse to take her with them because they are “business” trips it almost seems over the top). Does she kidnap her with the intention of soliciting funds in her name for her other murderous plot? Why couldn’t she just pay for that out of pocket? She is wealthy after all. *end SPOILERS*

My one issue with the book was the video game that the four year old girl was playing in captivity. She seemed to have a lot of manual dexterity for a four year old. The video game also seemed terribly complex for someone of her age to understand. There was probably also some metaphorical parallels I was missing since I was so busy being disturbed and horrified at the plight of this young girl.

It is a bleak world Mr. Rapp paints for us. It is full of adults abusing prescription drugs along with their less legal counterparts. It is a world of children so damaged they seek the same refuge of numbness drugs can provide.

I can’t really say I enjoyed this book. There wasn’t much redemption, there wasn’t much hope, we’re not sure if Bounce ever gets caught (although I really hope so), but it was very, very well written.

Book Source = Publisher Copy


Anonymous said...

Greetings fellow disturbed-by-Rapp reader. I, too, read this novel recently and felt much of what you have rightfully divined. And like you, I often read with my eyes widened and my mouth agape due to the novel's content.

I suspect though, that you are trying to put too much reasonable direction behind Bounce's motivations. She's like a house cat in that she enjoys the hunt for the hunt's sake, even when she's not hungry; it's just that the opportunity for capture arose (compare that unknowing gecko to the multiple tire slashings). Like you said, she is without a conscience; she's a sociopath and worse yet, she has drug-addled henchmen to bid her demented doings.

But ultimately, it is Rapp's prose and style that drew me and kept me there. I had so much opportunity to read through the lines, I couldn't stop thinking while reading, creating a rather unrelaxing and perverse reading experience. I'm certain you can relate.

So thanks for the well written and inviting post. You've obviously been Rapped before!

Patti said...

Right? She's just a sociopath. She doesn't need reasons.

Thanks for stopping by!