Tuesday, June 1, 2010
The Buffalo Tree (1997)
The Buffalo Tree by Adam Rapp
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I don't think I've ever been so depressed by a book in my life. It left me feeling sad even though the ending is hopeful. Written in the first person, we root for thirteen year old Sura to survive his six months in a juvenile detention center, where cruelty is the norm.
Author Adam Rapp has a new play that just opened on Broadway called "The Metal Children", which deals with an author doing battle with a small American town that has banned his YA book. Connecting the dots, I decided to read "The Buffalo Tree" to see what the hubbub might be about.
The book is disturbing to someone who grew up in the 50's and is nothing like the books I read. Was the world like that back then and we just didn't know? The adults in this story are non-human in the way they interact with the young inmates. There is no real kindness.
Using language that feels foreign and strange and hard to get a handle on adds to the feeling of alienation - of being plopped down in an artificial, uncaring world.
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