Monday, September 10, 2018
Review: Skullface Boy - by Chad Lutzke
At first, the subject matter for Chad Lutzke's new book seemed the most unlikely and unlikable of ideas, but I have to admit the old adage is true, "Never judge a book by its cover."
Take a sixteen-year-old boy, severely disfigured, who's never lived outside of a foster care facility and set him free in 1980s America, with nothing more than a backpack and his thumb, in a quest to find the one other man rumored to share his appearance.
Skullface Boy is much more than what you might expect. Much like Levi, who is much more than his appearance. Of course, there are those who persecute the young man just because of what he looks like, but there are also acts of kindness to be found on his journey from Denver to Hermosa Beach, California.
Lutzke is a skilled writer who shows off his talent with pieces of Americana like this...
"I wrote a little, then left to find a diner. I was hoping to find something like in the movies, where the waitress––the one with a latchkey kid waiting at home––calls you hon’ and wears too much blush and smells of cigarette breaks and last night’s gin, but I couldn’t find anything like that so I settled for McDonald’s. They had a breakfast deal going on––sausage McMuffin, hashbrown, and a medium coffee for a buck twenty-five."
Along the way, Levi meets the most wonderful characters, each created with great care to make the individual vignettes read like mini-stories in the greater work. I used to hitch-hike quite a bit back in the early seventies and Levi's stories brought back many memories, both good and bad.
Skullface Boy is wonderfully crafted and turned out to be one of my favorite reads in the Summer of 2018. This one moved me and is definitely recommended. Don't judge that book by it's cover.
Skullface Boy is currently available in paperback.
From the author's bio - Chad lives in Battle Creek, MI. with his wife and children. For over two decades, he has been a contributor to several different outlets in the independent music and film scene, offering articles, reviews, and artwork. In the summer of 2016, he released his acclaimed dark coming-of-age novella Of Foster Homes and Flies. His latest, Stirring the Sheets, was published by Bloodshot Books in spring 2018.