Denny is a 12-year-old, only child to a widowed, alcoholic mother. Denny is making the awkward transition from being a boy into manhood. His mother isn’t much help, as she’s usually well on her way to polishing off her daily bottle of vodka by the time he gets home from school. With a nasty tongue and a quick right hand that often follows the verbal onslaught, his mother is a real piece of work, one that Denny often makes excuses for, but understandably finds hard to love. He gets through his days with one goal in mind – the upcoming spelling bee. He chickened out of it last year and, ever since, has had to live with that regret. This year, he vows it will be different. Not only will he compete in the bee, but he’s determined to win. And that’s what he’s thinking about on this morning when he finds her silent in her recliner with the TV blaring. This is nothing new. Most mornings she’s passed out cold from her vodka induced sleep. However, this morning, it’s not the case. This morning, she won’t be awake, because she’s stiff as a board dead in the chair. The only sadness and disappointment that Denny’s feeling is that her death will prevent him from competing in the upcoming contest and he can’t allow that to happen.
It’s rare you run across a perfect book. OF FOSTER HOMES AND FLIES is one of those books. Chad Lutzke has flown under the radar for a couple of years before this release. Ever since, he has steadily climbed up the ladder and for good reason. OF FOSTER HOMES AND FLIES is a warped coming-of-age tale he writes in the First Person/Present Tense format. When I say warped, I mean warped in the way we as adults would think about what transpires, but not warped if you were viewing it through an abused and awkward 12-year-old’s eyes. In fact, that’s where Lutzke shines. His narrative is spot-on and flawless for the character. This causes the reader to get sucked into the story and you feel horrible for Denny and all the shit he’s had to endure throughout his childhood, all of which he’s rationalized to be normal. OF FOSTER HOMES AND FLIES is heartwarming and horrific, all in the same breath. I found that I couldn’t put the book down and read it in a single sitting. It would surprise me if it didn’t have the same effect on you.
5 Blueberry Pop Tarts out of 5
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