Title: Mongrels: A Novel
Author: Stephen Graham Jones
Publisher: Harper Collins
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
An overview from the publisher:
A spellbinding and darkly humorous coming-of-age story about an unusual boy, whose family lives on the fringe of society and struggles to survive in a hostile world that shuns and fears them.
He was born an outsider, like the rest of his family. Poor yet resilient, he lives in the shadows with his aunt Libby and uncle Darren, folk who stubbornly make their way in a society that does not understand or want them. They are mongrels, mixed blood, neither this nor that. The boy at the center of Mongrels must decide if he belongs on the road with his aunt and uncle, or if he fits with the people on the other side of the tracks.
For ten years, he and his family have lived a life of late-night exits and narrow escapes—always on the move across the South to stay one step ahead of the law. But the time is drawing near when Darren and Libby will finally know if their nephew is like them or not. And the close calls they’ve been running from for so long are catching up fast now. Everything is about to change.
A compelling and fascinating journey, Mongrels alternates between past and present to create an unforgettable portrait of a boy trying to understand his family and his place in a complex and unforgiving world. A smart and innovative story— funny, bloody, raw, and real—told in a rhythmic voice full of heart, Mongrels is a deeply moving, sometimes grisly, novel that illuminates the challenges and tender joys of a life beyond the ordinary in a bold and imaginative new way.
Like werewolves? Read Mongrels.
Mongrels is the first novel by Stephen Graham Jones that I have read, and because of this book, I have become much more interested in his previous works, as well as those slated to be published in the future. The short of it is this: Stephen Graham Jones can write. Reading Mongrels, and experiencing Jones’s writing for the first time, was refreshing.
Dialogue here is king. It’s sharp. It’s real. It’s honest. And second to his dialogue (in Mongrels at least), is Jones’s ability to set a scene and provide a legitimate sense of place and time.
While Mongrels is described as a story about werewolves, really, it is a story about family, and coming of age. A young, outsider’s perspective on werewolf life – real werewolf life – and his overwhelming yearning to be a part of the pack, is both intense and intimate, and is most certainly what makes this a great piece of fiction.
For me, the plot was lacking at points and the pacing was…alright. But, the bottom line here is that Mongrels is worth reading, because in Mongrels, Jones hits the mark a lot more than he misses it.
Do you plan on reading Mongrels, or have already done so? Share your thoughts and let me know in the comments. As always, thank you for reading. If you enjoyed this review, be sure to like, share, and subscribe!