Saturday, June 29, 2013

Book Review: His Illegal Self by Peter Carey

Think of this as a Public Service Announcement

Don't read this book. 


Simple as that. I will save you the time and unsatisfying ending. Spoiler Alert!


Che is a seven year old boy, living with his rich grandmother in New York. Apparently the boy is shielded from TV and any media, circa 1972. Why you may ask? Well because his parents are political activists and his grandmother doesn't want him to know anything about them or their lives. Seems that they may have a habit of blowing things up. To hippies they are admirable folk. To people like Che's grandmother, they are a little less desirable.

One day a woman shows up and Che assumes that it is his mother who has arranged to spend the day with her son without any advance notice or introduction. Grandma lets them go off by themselves. Within a couple of hours Che and Dial (the name she goes by) are on the run . . . You see it turns out that Dial is NOT Che's mother (shocker) and she was just assigned by the group to fetch Che to take to his mother. But somehow Che's mother blew up in an unfortunate explosion.

I would think at this point Dial would take Che back to his grandmother and call it a day. But she doesn't. For some reason she turns her back on her academic career (she had a life and a future) to run half way across the world with Che in tow. They end up in a deplorable hippie commune in Australia. These hippies do not seem very nice either.

The story goes on for what seems like forever and it doesn't get better. Che loves a cat. The hippies do not like the cat. The cat ends up being killed. It's hot and harsh in the commune. Dial struggles with telling the boy who she really is. Che wants his father and thinks he will come for him.

Ugh. I could go on and on but it just doesn't get better. I did not like any of these people and felt Che was a pawn for all of them.

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