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Flashback Friday: TALES OF THE MADMAN UNDERGROUND
Sep 12th, 2014 by Liza Wiemer

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Flashback Friday:

TALES OF THE MADMAN UNDERGROUND

4906766

By John Barnes

532 pages

Published June 25, 2009 by Viking Juvenile

Buy it here: IndieBound | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Connect with John Barnes: Website | Twitter

Literary Awards Printz Honor (2010)

From Goodreads:

Wednesday, September 5, 1973: The first day of Karl Shoemaker’s senior year in stifling Lightsburg, Ohio. For years, Karl’s been part of what he calls “the Madman Underground” – a group of kids forced (for no apparent reason) to attend group therapy during school hours. Karl has decided that senior year is going to be different. He is going to get out of the Madman Underground for good. He is going to act – and be – Normal. But Normal, of course, is relative. Karl has five after-school jobs, one dead father, one seriously unhinged drunk mother . . . and a huge attitude. Welcome to a gritty, uncensored rollercoaster ride, narrated by the singular Karl Shoemaker.

 

My Review:

Tales of the Madman UndergroundTales of the Madman Underground by John Barnes

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I continue to vacillate between appreciating this book as pure genius and as part insanity. Perhaps that is one of the reasons why it was a ALA Printz Honor Book. At times I wanted to throw the book against the wall and at other times I absolutely couldn’t put it down. We have heard the phrase that ‘the truth is stranger than fiction,’ but in this case I am left wondering how much truth was in the fiction. I am certain that these circumstances had to have taken place in some way to someone at some time. There is true humanity in this book, a sense of compassion, understanding, friendship, and a strong dose of nightmarish circumstances (abuse of all kinds) in the lives of these teens. It may have been set in 1973, but there’s a modern reality to the experiences of these teen characters and the adults who teach/parent/work with/council them. I have a feeling that this is a book that will stay with me for a long, long time.

View all my reviews

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