Heartbreaking. This book is emotional and deep and not for the faint of heart. Although it's a turn from my normal light-hearted novels, I was pulled into the gloomy and often dark world of Charlie and I couldn't escape from its magnetism of brokenness and resilience.
I think I may have connected with the book on such a relatable level because the setting was so familiar to me. At one time I worked at a treatment facility just like the one in the book, with kids just like those in the book, with protocol and structure just like that in the book. It was like taking a step back in time. Charlie could have been a number of kids that I worked with back then.
Right from the beginning, it is very apparent that this child has had a difficult life. His mother has placed him on the outskirts of her life, only to be picked up when she wants something to play with. And just when you think that Charlie's life is already crummy enough, it gets 100 times worse.
The characters were all very well-written. They were realistic and each person made an impact in the story. The author was able to blend every personality together to weave a very tragic story.
The only flaw for me was the prolonged "interruptions" about Darwinism theory that Charlie either related to his life or had flashbacks of. I get that it was a large part of his personality and correlated with how Charlie viewed his current life situation, but it became very lengthy at times and I found myself skipping pages to get back to the "action" of the story.
Overall, this was a very engaging, well-written book with characters who all conveyed tangible tragedy and despair. I give it a rating of 4.5/5 with a slight detraction for the constant swing back to science and evolution, only because I was so invested in the forward progress of the book and that hit the pause button on it for me.
by Heather Nelson (via NetGalley)