Staff Picks Book List: Alligator Wrestling, Parenting a Disabled Child and Teen Angst

Staff of the Daniel Boone Regional Library share their recently read favorites.

Book cover for Swamplandia! by Karen RussellSwamplandia!” by Karen Russell

“Swamplandia!” is a hilarious and heartbreaking and beautifully written book about a family that runs an alligator theme park. Since Ava’s alligator-wrestling mother died (of cancer, not alligator wrestling) the park has struggled. Ava is trying to save the park, but she must also contend with being a child and with a sister that is hell-bent on reaching the underworld so that she can marry a ghost.

Karen Russell dispenses metaphors as fresh as the air in the middle of the ocean at the top of a mountain directly underneath a blimp used to manufacture environmentally friendly “Fresh Aire” air fresheners, and it would be easy to reread nearly every sentence for the pleasure of her wordsmithing were it not necessary to proceed to the next, chasing these fantastic characters. A+. Would read again. – Chris S.

Book cover for The Boy in the Moon by Ian BrownThe Boy in the Moon” by Ian Brown

The Boy in the Moon is an absorbing and graceful story of a father helping to raise his “profoundly disabled” son.  It is a powerful examination of what it means to be a parent and what it means to be human.  Brown approaches this potentially somber topic with thoughtfulness and humor. – Melissa S.

Book cover for In Zanesville by Jo Ann BeardIn Zanesville” by Jo Ann Beard

Beard expertly captures the bittersweet misery of coming of age in small town USA, of entering high school, discovering your weirdness, boys, the weirdness of boys, the agony of being ignored by the popular crowd and the agony of not being ignored by the popular crowd. By turns funny and tender, the fourteen-year-old narrator’s voice rings true, as do the stories of her babysitting disasters, awkward sleepovers and keggers in the woods. – L.

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