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Sprout Hardcover – May 26, 2009
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About the Author
DALE PECK is the author of the Drift House novels for intermediate readers as well as many critically acclaimed novels and books of essays for adults, including Martin and John and Now It's Time to Say Goodbye. He lives in New York City.
Top Customer Reviews
I just finished Sprout. Wow. I also just ordered two more books by this author. Anything I write feels like a cliche: I didn't want it to end, amazing character development,I grew to love the characters and the well-worn COULDN'T PUT IT DOWN. All those things are true.
So what's this book about? A teenage boy nicknamed Sprout, who happens to have green hair, and happens also to be gay. His mother dies (handled as a flashback in the book), leaving him with his alcoholic father (ok the one thing that was maybe a teeny cliche), moving from Long Island to Kansas. Very different from Long Island.
This book isn't about Sprout wrestling with being gay. It's also not about him struggling for acceptance. Or even coming out to his father (his father knows). It's about Sprout dealing with his mother's death, honing his writing skills (makes me wonder if this is semi-autobiographical), falling in lust, falling in love, worrying about a future after high school. This is next-gen gay, where the protagonists' sexuality is an interesting but not a defining detail.
The narrative switches from the third to the first person and back again. Lots of commentary from the narrator directly to us, the readers, fleshing out details, making wry observations on the situation that until that very second we've been reading about in third person. And did I mention the book is funny?Read more ›
Having just finished Dale Peck's "Sprout," recommended to me by a friend on AfterElton's gay lit forum, I'm thinking I should have slugged my friend after all.
Before starting to write this, I read the worst reviews of "Sprout" here. I see why those reviewers were displeased, but I hasten to say they missed the point. "Sprout" is a double-edged (or, perhaps, two-sided) story. It starts out surprisingly light-hearted, and laugh-out-loud funny. It takes a very unhappy subject and turns it into a picaresque adventure of a broken man and his confused and damaged son setting off to create a new life. Or, possibly, the story of a budding novelist who is helped to discover his talent by a quirky and damaged midwestern school teacher.
But, as one complaining reviewer wrote, midway through the book things take a darker turn, and the emotional pain beneath the laughter comes rising to the surface. And with it comes love, which in turn reveals more pain. But far from putting me off, this shift in tone simply pulled me into Daniel Bradford's world more fully. It helped me understand that the strength this boy was showing was real, but also that it masked wounds that had scarred over without healing. The pain at the end of the story, which left me weeping and exhilarated at the same time, shows us that Sprout is going to be fine; that he will, after all, heal.Read more ›
Both Ty and Daniel (aka "Sprout") have lost their mothers, but in different ways. Both has crazy, dysfunctional fathers. But the similarities end there, except they both fall in love with a strange outsider boy in school.
I liked the book a lot, but I want to give my negative comments on it. Just as some other reviewer said, it felt like the novel broke in two. There was pre-Ty and then post-Ty. For example, Ruthie Wilcox just ingloriously falls out of the story. What about Ian Abernathy? Is he gay or not? Lots of unanswered questions left me frustrated. Mrs. Miller's influence seriously declines in the second half, only to make an almost "deux ex machina" reapparance at the end. So from a literary perspective, the book wasn't very unified. It didn't cohere.
From an emotional standpoint, I felt that Ty's beatings at the hand of his father were very very depressing. I so wanted him to escape that evil cruel dad and I guess he did, but to where, nobody knows. It is almost like Ty drops off the end of the earth, not too different from his twin brother Hollis who drowns himself in a shallow pond. Pretty damn depressing.
There were several moments when I thought we were about to get a gay teenage "Thelma and Louise" story, but fortunately, the author led us down the garden path only to duck into a side bush and trick us. I actually love "Thelma and Louise" but it would trite to repeat it in a gay teen boy setting.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book was freaking stellar, I read it all in one sitting, because I couldn't bare to stop. When I reached the ending all I could do was curl in to fetal position and curse. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Jillian
I didn't care for the second half of the story. Fell apart, and the flow and plot just cracked under pressure. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Kevin
I liked Sprout and the pace of the 1st 3/4 of the book. When it came to the supposed climax it ran out of steam, at least for me. Read morePublished 10 months ago by E. Sloan
I loved this book. It is wickedly smart, funny, heartbreaking.
Sprout is 12 years old when his father moves them from Long Island to Kansas following the death of... Read more
Interesting plot line but tries way to hard to seem intelligent. Simple aspects of the book were drug out for pages.Published 15 months ago by Paul
I love this book. My only complaint is that is had a different cover, at least my hardcover copy did, but I actually like my cover better.Published 16 months ago by NnyLuvR---Z?
Truly a great read. As an adolescent homosexual teenager I felt like I could relate to sprout in many ways. I would recommend that anyone who likes YA fiction give this a try.Published 17 months ago by Jorgetastic
I've read a lot of YA lit, including a lot of gay YA lit, and this book is very much 50/50 for me. On one hand, the writer doesn't make the entire book about the fact that the... Read morePublished on July 7, 2014 by Nicole Mohr
author had pen in one hand and thesaurus and dictionary in the other. If he was to impress with language, he failed. I wanted to like this but just could not stay interested. Read morePublished on May 14, 2014 by just relax