The Charlatan's Boy: A Novel
Published October 5th 2010 by The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group
(first published August 10th 2010)
0307458229 (ISBN13: 9780307458223)
About the Book . . . .
“I only know one man who might be able to tell me where I come from, and that man is a liar and a fraud.”
As far back as he can remember, the orphan Grady has tramped from village to village in the company of a huckster named Floyd. With his adolescent accomplice, Floyd perpetrates a variety of hoaxes and flimflams on the good citizens of the Corenwald frontier, such as the Ugliest Boy in the World act.
It’s a hard way to make a living, made harder by the memory of fatter times when audiences thronged to see young Grady perform as “The Wild Man of the Feechiefen Swamp.” But what can they do? Nobody believes in feechies anymore.
When Floyd stages an elaborate plot to revive Corenwalders’ belief in the mythical swamp-dwellers known as the feechiefolk, he overshoots the mark. Floyd’s Great Feechie Scare becomes widespread panic. Eager audiences become angry mobs, and in the ensuing chaos, the Charlatan’s Boy discovers the truth that has evaded him all his life—and will change his path forever.
About the Author . . . .
Jonathan Rogers grew up in Georgia, where he spent many happy hours in the swamps and riverbottoms on which the wild places of The Charlatan's Boy are based. He received his undergraduate degree from Furman University in South Carolina and holds a Ph.D. in seventeenth-century English literature from Vanderbilt University. The Rogers clan lives in Nashville, Tennessee, where Jonathan makes a living as a freelance writer.
No matter what he is writing, Jonathan Rogers is motivated by the astonishing reality of God's transforming grace in the lives of human beings. He is passionate about seeing the truths of Scripture bear fruit in the lives of students - lives of integrity, purpose, and joy. That passion is reflected in his books, including Words to Live By for Teens, What Really Counts for Students, and his Wilderking Trilogy of adventure novels - The Bark of the Bog Owl, The Secret of the Swamp King, and The Way of the Wilderking.
Reader Review . . .
Grady has no memory of his origins. Not for lack of trying, though; he has spent many hours trying to remember a family or home before Floyd, a huckster who makes his living perpetrating hoaxes on villages. Each time he asks Floyd where he came from, he receives a different story. One story is that he found him squawling under a palmetto bush; another story is that his real mama gave him away because he was too ugly to keep. Grady is inclined to believe that one, because he looks different from everyone else. He looks like a feechie, and Floyd makes a living by showing Grady as a "genuine, real live, he-feechie". As they make the rounds fleecing the villagers, Grady is on a journey to the knowledge of who he truly is.
If I believed in reincarnation, and I don't, I would claim to have found the "genuine, real live, reincarnation of Mark Twain". Jonathan Rogers' writing style is so reminiscent of Twain that it is eerie. For everyone who ever felt sad because they realized they had read all of Twain's works, and now there is nothing to look forward to, here is the answer. And when I read his blog and realized that he also likes and is influenced by Flannery O'Connor, I was even happier. Anyone who likes Twain and O'Connor is okay by me. This novel was categorized as YA, but this middle-aged woman enjoyed it just as much today as I would have at 13. Jonathan Rogers is a writer for all ages.
Definitely 5 stars
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group book review bloggers program . I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”