Posted by Venus on Monday, August 24, 2015
Labels: intermediate book review
Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: February 24, 2015
Stanley Slater would love to have a normal life, but that is impossible with a missing father and his Granny around. Especially when said Granny up and moves them to a lumber camp where he is stuck with his awful cousin Geri, cold-blood killer Stinky Pete, a host of suitors for his Mama, and far too many people who think they know what is best for him. If only he could prove that he is a man, then he is sure that he could have a real adventure and maybe find his dad.
Stanley is an idiot. There I said it. Among Stanley's many issues, his biggest is that he has absolutely no filter between his brain and his mouth. In fact, on a regular basis Stanley thinks out loud and most of his thoughts are on the fairly stupid side. (these thoughts are never called out for the reader, which means that it is up to us to guess when Stanley is thinking aloud) I wish I could say that Stanley is just a daydreamer, but it is more about serious naivety, stupidity, and close-mindedness. For example, Stanley's cousin Geri regularly lies to him, which he absolutely knows and still believes everything she says. It takes him forever to reach the point where he finally understands why all the men at the camp are being nice to his mom and even when he does understand, doesn't fully realize what that would mean for him. Are you seriously telling me that an eleven-year-old doesn't understand the concept of marriage?
I could possibly forgive a stupid character like Stanley as his ignorance is supposed to be part of the joke, but what I had a really hard tie with is that there are absolutely no adventures, near-death or otherwise. There is some daydreaming of adventures, some thinking that his father may be an adventurer, and some conniving to go to the river run, but none of it actually happens. Instead, we get to follow Stanley through a rather boring lumber camp as he willfully treats his Granny like she is the devil incarnate and his mom with a great deal of indifference. Worse yet, I agreed with everything his Granny had to say about him. He really does need to grow up and although he doesn't need an abusive father, he could really use a good authority figure in his life. And his mother does let him get away with a lot. There were so many times where I wished she would just sit him down and talk to him.
Isn't it funny how when we dislike a book we could go on and on about it? I wanted to like this book. I saw it's potential, but sadly found that the author's note at the end was more interesting than the book itself.