Book Review: Dead End In Norvelt (Jack Gantos)

Dead End In Norvelt is a fictitious memoir of Jack Gantos, charting ‘the most boring summer ever’. At the beginning of summer holidays, Jack is playing around with some things his father found in a Japanese bunker during World War Two, including a (supposedly) unloaded rifle. Unfortunately, the gun goes off, triggering his stress-related nosebleed problem and getting him grounded for the rest of summer (FAIL!). Soon his mother forces him to work with old Ms Volker, who writes obituaries for the local newspaper, and Jack thinks his summer is as bad as they get. Then all the old people start dying like flies and a Hells’ Angels chapter swears vengeance on the town for the death of one of their comrades and Jack discovers that there’s almost no chance of him dying of boredom when there are so many other ways to end up six feet under…

This book is great! It’s well written, funny, and, being based on the author’s childhood, has a definite ring of truth that is far too often lost in other books. It has a lot of stuff I like, writing, history and an old lady who asks the Grim Reaper to tea. Unfortunately it did not involve llamas, so I give it (drumroll, please)… 8.5/10!

(Cue wild cheering) Thank you, thank you! I’ll be back soon with more great books!

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