Saturday, November 14, 2009

Book of the Week

At first, I had a difficult time getting in to Tedd Arnold's book Rat Life. It starts with the narrator going through all of the possible ways he could have started his story. It was an interesting choice on the part of the author and pretty creative, but it did not captivate me. Luckily, the rest of the book did.

I picked up Rat Life because I noticed that it won the Edgar Award in 2008. This prize is named after the writer Edgar Allan Poe, and is awarded to the best mystery book in a variety of categories. Rat Life won under the Young Adult Lit section. Previous winners include Paper Towns by John Green, Acceleration by Graham McNamee, and Buried by Robin Merrow MacCready. You can find these titles on the free reading shelves at the back of the room.

Back to this book. Rat Life is slow at the start, but the suspense and mystery builds as it goes. After the first fifty pages, I had a hard time putting it down. This story is set in the 1970's, just after the Vietnam War. The narrator of the story is a teen boy named Todd, who befriends a strange older teen nicknamed Rat. Rat has obviously led a pretty hard life, but is interesting to Todd. Though Todd does not completely trust Rat, he is curious about him and ends up spending more and more time with him.

Did I mention that there's an unidentified dead body that's been found right near Rat's house? Todd begins to wonder if Rat could possibly have anything to do with the man's murder, especially once he learns that Rat was somehow a soldier in Vietnam.

If you're looking for a good mystery, this could be it. It's interesting how the story all comes together and there are some references to the 1970's and Vietnam that make this story pretty compelling. This is a quick read and an entertaining one.

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