Sunday, October 9, 2011

Review: Everybody Sees the Ants

Everybody Sees the Ants by A.S. King.

Summary from Goodreads.

Lucky Linderman didn't ask for his life. He didn't ask his grandfather not to come home from the Vietnam War. He didn't ask for a father who never got over it. He didn't ask for a mother who keeps pretending their family is fine. And he certainly didn't ask to be the recipient of Nadar McMillan's relentless bullying, which has finally gone too far.

Lucky has a secret—one that helps him wade through the daily dysfunction of his life. Grandad Harry, trapped in the jungles of Laos, has been visiting Lucky in his dreams—and the dreams just might be real: an alternate reality where he can be whoever he wants to be and his life might still be worth living. But how long can Lucky remain in hiding there before reality forces its way inside?


So how does A.S. King follow up a Printz Honor book like Please Ignore Vera Dietz? By writing an equally inspiring and absolutely amazing novel like Everybody Sees the Ants.

As with Dust of 100 Dogs, Everybody Sees the Ants is yet another genre-defying novel that is impossible to place but equally impossible not to love. I have no idea how to categorize this book in my tags list, so I just chose realistic fiction and fantasy but really, it blends seamlessly into a million other genres too. Both surreal in the dreams of Vietnam and painfully realistic in Pennsylvania, King once again writes a novel that cannot be put down and will strike a chord in every heart.

Lucky Linderman is a well-loved character and despite the dreams and the visions of ants - which had to be some of my favorite characters with their commentary and random actions - is startlingly realistic. As can be expected with King's writing, nothing felt rushed or out of place, and I couldn't put the book down from start to finish. 

So many issues in this book, from bullying to POW/MIA, women's rights (The Vagina Monologues is amazing and everyone should see it at least once. I've seen it three times), and addiction but King treats them all with grace and respect.

The ants are the silent narrators of Lucky's life, often playacting his emotions when he doesn't know how (they throw tiny bombs at his aunt, for example) to become his conscience while his visits with his grandfather become his escape and then his strength.

I literally just finished this book and will wait a few days before I read it again just because it's that good. Once again, King doesn't disappoint (but we've come to expect that already) with yet another beautifully written novel that is painfully honest and achingly real. You don't watch Lucky grow up. You grow with him with the ants leading the way.

Bought from Barnes and Noble.

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