- 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
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,686,173 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
Almost Kings Kindle Edition
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Top customer reviews
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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.
Young Bug struggles with his own moral compass and his naive love and trust of his brother, and in the end comes to some very mature, realistic, adult conclusions.
This novel, while short, is not light. It would make a fantastic discussion piece with any young men in my life who are coming of age, as I'd use it to broach some topics such as the proper treatment and attitudes toward women, and toward illegal (because if you are under the purchasing age, then it is illegal, isn't it?) substances.
Doty's writing is strong and clear with just the perfect amount of description to convey the mood of the piece. I was riveted by the second chapter and sad by the end, but also proud of little Bug.
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.
Many people knew people like this in high school - the "kings' and their worshippers, who are willing to do anything to be accepted, and part of the gang. We see it in 'Bug', who has been let down by his parents, but protected by his older brother. He admires him, and wants to be just like him, until he finally sees who his brother really is, and what impact his actions have. And through the epilogue, we learn the lifelong effects and results. It is the kind of life lesson we wish we could teach to every teen out there, wanting to 'fit in'.
Rough language and actions, but it is a rough story. It is hard for me to say I recommend it for teens, but the essence of the story is something they need to learn. They need to know that their actions have consequences, and may affect their whole lives.