this book has a lower average rating than skinny bitch? what is wrong with you guys? chappie is one of my favorite narrators of all time. In the tradition Huckleberry Finn and The Catcher in the Rye, Russell Banks’s quintessential novel of a disaffected homeless youth living on the edge of society “redefines the young modern antihero Rule of the Bone has its own culture and language, and Bone is sure to become a beloved character for generations” San Francisco Chronicle With a compelling, offbeat protagonist evocative of Holden Caulfield and Quentin Coldwater, and a narrative voice that masterfully and naturally captures the nuances of a modern vernacular, Banks’s haunting and powerful novel is an indisputable—and unforgettable—modern classic eh the main character is compelling but but I don't know There is something surface about the whole thing I kind of hate that the healing balm for the kid's smothered soul comes in the guise of a jamaican rasta dude a gimmick to give the story a little exotic flavoring??? and if the whole point is for the kid to know himself, i don't think the book teaches anything He never stops looking outside himself for his sense of self. A cross between Holden Caulfield, Christopher McCandless, and Henry Fielding for the 90's, a picaresque Bildungsroman, Chappie (the Bone) is a young abused mall rat/homeless fuck'dup kid who comes of age by traveling between sin and the stars Banks is a masterful writer and this book's strength is that it is written entirely (in first person) in Chappie's voice and never waivers or has a false note This is a novel that has sat on my shelf for years What drew me to it in the beginning was the synopsis that mentions good old Huckleberry Finn and The Catcher in the Rye themes With that said, I have no clue what I just read Bone is a 14 year old who leaves home and basically becomes a unique kind of homeless kid Involved in drugs, stealing and a whole assortment of different scenarios that lead him to Jamaica Bone endures sexual abuse from his alcoholic stepfather which seems to be the catalyst for some of his drug escapes and future school failings at the minimum For some reason his saving grace comes in the guise of a Jamaican Rasta man who runs an underground drug ring The ending isn't necessarily an ending and I'm not sure how this whole thing translates to a coming of age read I believe this book falls into you either love it or not Unfortunately it lands on the lower spectrum for me. The novel Rule of the Bone by Russel Banks was probably the best book I've read all summer It's a decent sized book, about 400 pages, and yet I read it all in two sittings The novel is truly gripping, and keeps the reader entertained as the main character Bone goes through different adventures It smashes the typical idea that we have to have our lives figured out from the time we're children, or at all for that matter Instead of being driven by a plan, or by a future, Bone is driven by the primal need of staying alive I also feel connected with this book because most of it takes place in upstate New York (Plattsburgh area) which just makes it all therelatable to me personally The main idea that Banks shares with this novel is that the only thing that will every be permanent in life is you Things change day by day, and in the end you can only come to rely on yourself for answers Bone learns this through a series of different living conditions, friends, and disappointments There wasn't a page in this novel that bored me, and even though it was written almost 20 years ago, it feels fresh and not outdated at all I would recommend this to anyone looking for an entertaining read, that still has a good message. (I'm reprinting this from my review of another edition, here w/in Goodreads) The finest accomplishment of a splendid contemporary's career RULE OF THE BONE takes on the kind of lost child most of us would far prefer to ignore a mall rat with a fondness for weed, medicating the pain out of his own broken and abused home The novel keens the tragedy of America's neglected young people like no other I know, lashing brilliantly into the commercial forces that turn a seven or elevenyearold into an item of barter, a piece of property to be used and discarded And Banks pulls off his admonishings without sacrificing drama, with brio, humor, surprise, and above all great sensitivity to details of heart and nerve. If I could give it a zero, I would Coming of age??? Really? This 14 year old child is heavy into weed, alcohol, and crime Readers are supposed to understand his plight because of his horrible childhood His choices, understandable Should I be ok with them? NO!! And nothing changes by the end I can handle books that make one think or that touch on hard subjects This one crosses a line, and I don't understand how it is called a great American novel. Rule of the Bone is an intriguing field study into the human coping mechanism Chappy, also known as Bone is a damaged young man He is the product of a broken family, sexual abuse, drugs, and parental apathy His story is one of self discovery, maturation, and the loss of innocence With that said, I found Rule of the Bone a fairly engaging read, not without its difficulties It is told from the perspective of an under educated, drug using 14 year old boy, so naturally the language itself is going to be a bit touchy Rendered in a lengthy, runon stream of consciousness style of writing, Rule of the Bone may lose you from time to time, and force you to stop, backtrack and reread to gain the proper understanding It is not perfect, then again, it is not intended to be Complain all you want about the style of writing, but Banks delivers the story how he intends to He gets you into the head of Chappy/Bone, and thus give you the closest possible vantage Was this the easiest book to get through? No Do I think it provides us some important lessons about human growth, maturation, and the loss of innocence? Definitely With that said, I recommend you give Rule of the Bone a read. This came so close to being a great novel I always sympathize with picaresque alienated loners (that sounds awfully like it could be an ethnic slur, couldn't it?), but Bone is no Huck Finn or Holden Caulfield, and I can't say I was smitten with the Jamaican setting, which just felt tacked on Somehow if the story had just focused on desolateass Upstate New York, I think that it could have been tighter andinteresting – as it is, the novel sprawlsthan it should, to minimal effect.