Sunday, July 4, 2010

The Charlatan’s Boy-Jonathan Rogers

The Charlatan’s Boy
Jonathan Rogers
Waterbrook, Aug 10 2010, $13.99
ISBN: 9780307458223

All young Grady knows about himself is he has always traveled with Perfessor Floyd Wendellson who proclaims to be the world’s greatest authority on “feechie life and habits”. The lad would like to know about his past with a strong need to belong, but no matter how hard he concentrates he remains clueless.

Their traveling con show across Corenwald has recently seen dwindling attendance as people no longer believe in the legends of the Feechie especially at the cost of a copper. The duo reaches rock bottom when the latest hoax to make the Corenwalders fearfully fascinated with the “Wild Man of the Feechiefen Swamp” works too well; leading to an enraged mob wanting to lynch the Perfessor and the Charlatan’s Boy. However, Floyd may be frightened, but he is also euphoric because during the dangerous chaos he found his first clue about his mysterious past and a new hope he will find blood kin.

Ironically though the Perfessor tells his con artist tales about the Ugliest Boy, etc. to the rubes, the novel’s story line is told by the uneducated but trained to play roles orphan. The lad makes the tale work as his obsession to find his family brings empathy to well written strange world. Fans who enjoy something dramatically different will appreciate a visit to Mr. Rogers’ magical neighborhood.

Harriet Klausner

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