- Explore more great deals on thousands of titles in our Deals in Books store.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Tales of the Madman Underground Hardcover – June 25, 2009
LaunchPad Solo for Literature
Learn and practice close reading & critical thinking skills in an interactive environment.
Customers Who Viewed This Item Also Viewed
Special Offers and Product Promotions
From School Library Journal
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Top Customer Reviews
For some reason, teachers in the '70s thought school-mandated therapy was the best response for kids with problems. With 17 counselors (and counting) over the past five years or so, the Madman Underground certainly has their share of problems. One of the members talks to a stuffed rabbit she carries around, another has crying jags over the littlest things, and the file grows thicker for every other person in the group. Not even a brand new member, a girl named Marti who Karl immediately hits it off with, can keep Karl from wanting to return to the place where "normal" is left at the door. Karl wasn't always a part of group therapy, though, and he believes there is hope for leaving Lightsburg, Ohio --- and his family's past --- behind.
The Shoemaker name is famous in Lightsburg, and no one will let Karl forget it. His father, Doug, was a widely popular mayor until an unfortunate political scandal and then an even more untimely death. His mother never quite recovered, and her already heavy drinking led to full-blown alcoholism. Karl never knows what kind of mother will show up on a daily basis and usually manages to tiptoe around her drunken rages.Read more ›
Karl Shoemaker wants his senior year to be 'normal' rather than one dominated by the drama associated with the forced therapy group he has been a part of since 4th grade. As he tries to distance himself from the group he realizes that he can't and doesn't want to distance himself from the friends he has made in the group, The Madman Underground. This rag-tag group of kids who all have pretty hefty problems are truly his support network. Adults, like his hippie, cat-loving, alcoholic mother, may let him down but the members of the Madman Underground never do.
The subtitle of this book is: A Historical Romance, 1973. I was in high school in 1973 so I was on the lookout for authentic, accurate cultural references and the book was full of them. Here are a few that I found charming/funny: Karl sprayed his pits (he put on deodorant); the hoods came in the bathroom to smoke (the drug-users, hard-core kids--most schools at that time period had a smoking area but often the hoods would come inside and smoke in the bathroom when the weather was bad outside); Marti drove a Ford LTD (I think half of my friends' parents had LTDs when I was in high school); she was such a J.D.Read more ›
Barnes is best known to me as an author of some of my favorite science-fiction novels. When I saw this book and realized I'd missed it on publication, I immediately grabbed an e-copy and set about reading it without even knowing what it was about. I'm a big John Barnes fan.
It is not science fiction. It's your regular, everyday retro fiction set in the early 1970's in a small Ohio town. Karl Shoemaker, son of the former mayor, former town drunk, and current dead man, is about to start his senior year in high school and he's got a plan. For years, Karl has been a member of what was called -- among its members -- the Madman Underground. They were a semi-covert group of students who all had been assigned to therapy for a variety of problems. Karl, though, has had enough. He wants to spend one year when he's not in therapy with yet another clueless therapist.
Thus, Karl launches Operation Be F***ing Normal. The first thing he did was stop drinking and join AA, which promptly lost him his girlfriend. Working five jobs and keeping an eye on his perpetually pleasure-seeking hippie wannabe mom, Karl doesn't have a lot of time for fun. That, however, doesn't stop him from trying, even without a girlfriend.
Mostly, though, his free time is spent helping his friends from the Madman Underground and getting into the same sorts of situations that require help from those same friends.
Tales from the Madman Underground is an interesting book. The voice of Karl Shoemaker is hilariously real and sadly familiar all at once. Too many kids face the same problems as Karl.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
An interesting look at the lives of a group of unique teens through the eyes of Karl Shoemaker. Everyone has issues, these kids just have more than most. Read morePublished on March 15, 2014 by CS Taylor
This book takes place over the course of six days in 1973. Karl Shoemaker starts his senior year determined to be "normal. Read morePublished on April 25, 2013 by Brittany
I know that others have condemned books for trying to channel Holden Caulfield, but this is one of the only books I've ever read that actually lands solidly on the Caulfield... Read morePublished on January 31, 2013 by Nora A. Williams
John Barnes has written buckoos of SF books. I must now pick up some of them. TALES OF THE MADMAN UNDERGROUND is non-genre YA but writing this good should not be missed. Read morePublished on September 12, 2012 by Liviania
I loved this book. As another reviewer commented, I found it to be in the same vein as Catcher in the Rye (which I liked), only better! Read morePublished on April 19, 2012 by Liz
Tales of the Madman Underground, by John Barnes, is about teenage friendships and the struggles of a working high school student. Read morePublished on March 7, 2011 by mspin44
I realy wanted to read this book on my Kindle, but I can't justify paying MORE for my Kindle edition than the paperback edition! Read morePublished on August 30, 2010
This is a pleasant read. The author develops characters nicely. Although a few characters act out of character on occasion, this may be intentional because, after all, we are... Read morePublished on August 17, 2010 by J. Mondl
I have read virtually all winners of the Prinz Award since its inception. This book is not appropriate for many of the target audience. Read morePublished on May 12, 2010 by YA Reader