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Almost Kings by [Doty, Max]
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Almost Kings Kindle Edition

3.7 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews

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Length: 102 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled

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Product Details

  • File Size: 269 KB
  • Print Length: 102 pages
  • Publication Date: June 2, 2012
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0088JOJ7A
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,187,074 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I first became aware of Almost Kings because it was featured on the blog "Pixel of Ink" as a free book for Amazon Kindle. I picked it up and immediately realized that there was zero in the book that I could relate to. That said I, "liked it" (the text that accompanies a three star review) for what it was: A memoir of coming of age for a young man living in small-town Texas. This young man comes from very working class stock, including a father who is an abusive alcoholic and on disability, so it comes as no surprise that "Bug" (aka Ted) and his older brother "Truck" (aka James) are in their own way drawn to alcohol abuse and tend to objectify women to a level that I found distasteful.

In this town, it appears that you marry your high school sweetheart and playing high school football is the highlight of your social experience. After high school, zero of the possible career options mentioned included college. Instead, the military and blue-collar jobs were mentioned. The town's main social scene seems to be watching their local high school compete in football.

This story includes a lot of heartbreak for young Bug who has always looked up to his older brother, Truck. Truck, in turn, protected young Bug both from their father's abuses as well as from Truck's own undesirable activities and attitudes, trying to keep young Bug on the straight and narrow. Truck's friends, however, were not aware of this plan and they tantalized Bug with ideas of alcohol consumption, skipping school, objectifying women, and engaging in sexual activity with unconscious young ladies. Truck, trying to remain a role model, is the worst offender at perpetuating these ideas.
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By savetheearth on February 21, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I really didn't know until reading this book that things like this really happen. I found the challenge presented morally degrading, especially for the females, and was saddened at the behavior of all involved. Depressing.
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Almost Kings is a dark, engaging novella about the death of a boy's admiration for his dangerous older brother. The story is narrated by Ted Wheeler, who is believable as a smart but emotionally stupid 14-year-old boy. Throughout the book, you see him make plenty of terrible decisions, all for the approval and love of his brother Truck. Truck is a well-drawn character, whose hard back story forces you to understand and feel for him even as he grows despicable. Doty does a good job of showing the conflict between Truck's love for Ted and his deep-seated wish that his gifted little brother would outgrow his need of Truck.

The drama of the novel revolves around a sinister end-of-high-school sex bet, complete with point values for attractiveness and virginity. Rape of unconscious women is explicitly encouraged, and though the word is never used, the wickedness is clear. Though this plot-line is only a few steps removed from that of a coming-of-age sex comedy, there's little fun in its execution - it ends up looking and feeling utterly hideous. This, I imagine, is part of the point.

Doty's writing is strong, and while I know this novel was released with the movie, I think it stands on its own. I do wish the novel were a little longer, as some elements (particularly the family background and the epilogue) deserved more space. Still, it was a good read, and I will be buying the movie.
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This book was pretty disturbing. It was well written, but I felt uneasy, and not in a good way, reading it. I liked it well enough to finish it but was kind of glad when it was over. The subject matter was hard to digest in that the main character was a 14-year-old boy and there was a lot of drinking and a "sex game" at the center of it all. I found it a little hard to believe that the main character, who narrated the story, was so young. He came across as a lot older and wiser than 14 and never really had me feeling like I should believe he acted and reacted the way the author had him doing throughout the story. I probably won't read another story by Max Duty. Definitely not my genre.
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I'd classify this YA novella as a coming-of-age story. It has been made into a movie, which I've not seen.

Almost Kings is the story of Bug's (aka Ted Wheeler's) fall semester as a high school freshman. Bug is the younger brother of Truck (aka James Wheeler). Truck and a few of his football buddies make up a loose clique called "The Kings."

As seen through Bug's naive eyes, The Kings are hulking, tough demi-gods of their rural high school. Being heroes of the football field affords them golden ticket passage through high school. The girls desire them. The other boys fear them. They are untouchable. They are Bug's heroes.

But Bug's perception of the world around him is limited. Reading between the lines in this short novel, the truth emerges. High school administration sees The Kings as bad kids, troublemakers, brawlers. The Kings are sexual predators. They drink too much. Even Truck, the leader of The Kings, comments none of The Kings have much of a future ahead of them.

Over the course of a few months, Bug discovers the truth about his brother and the other Kings. The explosive lesson he learns will mark him for life.

The author's presentation of these kids could be interpreted as stereotyping of an entire high school or town, but I don't think it is. Kids like the ones in this novella are part of every high school social structure. Reading this reminded me of people I knew and things I saw growing up. This peek into that almost forgotten world-through Bug's eyes-is intimate, poignant...and harrowing. I'll remember the way this story made me feel for a long time.
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