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Lobster Boy Mass Market Paperback


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 331 pages
  • Publisher: Pinnacle (March 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 078600133X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786001330
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 4.3 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,159,526 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Rae Schwarz on June 1, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Through extensive interviews with nearly all parties involved, both family and police, Fred Rosen reconstructs the events surrounding the life and death of Grady Stiles Jr, the "Lobster Boy." Following a profitable sideshow career, capitalizing on the congenital defect known as ectrodactyly (fingers and toes are fused to form claws), Stiles was murdered in his own living room, victim of a hit man hired by members of his own family.
Was Stiles a man who had tried to make the most of his handicap and live the American dream only to be taken advantage of by his spouse, or did he use his deformity to hide years of abusive behavior, verbal and physical violence that eventually drove his own family to take steps to protect themselves?
A fascinating true account of life being stranger than fiction. Comes with a dozen photo pages so you can see the strangeness for yourself.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Elise on June 14, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
In "Lobster Boy," Fred Rosen executes brilliantly the essential elements of a provocative story: strong character development, suspense, and attention to detail. The characters have distinct voices and successfully serve as foils and mirrors against each other. All of them reflect pieces of ourselves.
All in all, it was beautifully written; Rosen's crisp, poetic imagery and fluid language create a lush and present environment for a complex, deeply disturbing story. I was fascinated by how well Rosen navigated layers of psychological/family dynamics in this book. An incredibly realistic account, psychologically speaking, of the haunting emotional devastation wreaked upon a family given a father's narcissistic investment in his own fame --and a mother's passivity. Rosen's writing enables us to strengthen our awareness of political and sociological issues present in patriarchal culture, social class, and sideshows. This book had me turning one page after another, unable to set it down. When finished, I spent a long time discussing it over coffee; I was so moved by the book, as well as energized by Rosen's storytelling ability and insight. Highly recommended.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 8, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
After reading "Lobster Boy," the story of the murder of sideshow attraction Grady Stiles, I now understand why people can't turn away from a nasty auto accident: morbid fascination compels them to stare. The same is true for this book. I always felt a little strange and dirty after visiting a circus sideshow and that same feeling returned while reading this book. Rosen reveals a side to life that few people understand or have experienced. It's different and who's to say it's worse than what we know? Regardless, all the details are here for us to gawk at, like circus attraction. Although it suffers from weak writing, the story is gripping and you just can't turn away until it's over. Entertaining in a sleazy way.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By B. Wolinsky on January 9, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Gibsonton Florida is a strange and funny place. It's a town full of off-season and retired performers, enjoying the cheap rent, warm air, and easygoing lifestyle. But unlike Sarasota, where the big circuses spend the winter, Gibsonton is for the carny people. If you prefer a better known term; circus freaks!

In Gibsonton, a bearded lady could go shopping without being stared at. A three-legged woman and her dwarf husband could stroll around without anybody pointing. It was a place where sideshow people could be accepted by each other, and where it wasn't unusual to have carnival trailers in driveways.

Though Gibsonton's "human oddities" are almost always pleasant, one of them was far from it. Grady Stiles, part of a long line of people with "claw hands", was a mean, vicious alcoholic and wife beater. Though he had no legs and his hands were two-fingered claws, he was far from defenseless. His upper-body strength was incredible, and his grip was all-powerful. If you got his claw around your throat, you were in trouble!

Grady Stiles had been through a lot as a child. Growing up in the 1940's with a deformity was not an asset; people spat at him and threw Holy Water at him, called him "devil child" and other terrible names. With no legs, he got around on his hands and knees, developing his super-powerful arms. As an adult, he married an abused teenage runaway whom he abused for years. He beat his wife, drank, beat her some more, bullied his family, drank, beat them up daily, killed his daughter's fiance, etc. But all the while, he kept a sweet face for the police, judges, and business people.

Grady Stiles could con anyone; after all, he'd been raised in a carnival.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jim on February 9, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I do agree with much of what other reviewers have said about this one. I still found it to be a worth while read. As I read it, I vividly pictured that nasty little drunk with claws hiding behind his "disability" and quickly grew to despise him. The rest of this story is a rather depressing one of abuse, poverty and helplessness. The movie "Gumo" comes to mind. The same emotions were prodded and aggravated. I guess that's what I get for being morbidly intrigued by this subject.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Conan on July 15, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is one of my favorite true-crime books and I have reccomended it to most of my friends and family. The cruel Dickensenian fate of little Grady is told with a deadpan serious style. I'm afraid even David Lynch would have a hard time topping this.
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