Sunday, February 10, 2019

Rule of the Bone

Rule of the Bone, Russell Banks, 390 pages

I originally read Russell Banks's Rule of the Bone in high school, and at the time thought the protagonist Chapman, AKA The Bone, was underwhelming and I did not understand why he seemed so blank at the start of the book. Rereading it now, fifteen years and a lot of life experience later, I can understand the "blank" qualities he exhibited, that he just seemed to follow along with the events that were occurring around, and how he never really seemed to understand right from wrong. His lack of world and life experiences that are positive contrast strongly with what he feels should be right, and that is a lot of where his internal conflicts come from. He goes from homeless, drug addled teen and criminal, to a young man who finally understands that life outlooks come from role models and experiences, and even negative experiences can create positive changes in one's life. His sometimes rambling and unreliable nature as a narrator are showcased in the way that Banks writes, in train of thought sentences that expand and contract based upon the actions of Chappie. While an enjoyable read, some of the topics Banks hits upon (child abuse, drug abuse, murder) may be a bit much for some readers.

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