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The Love Curse of the Rumbaughs

3.22  ·  Rating Details  ·  723 Ratings  ·  199 Reviews
On an unseasonably warm Easter Sunday, a young girl named
Ivy discovers a chilling secret in the basement of the Rumbaugh
pharmacy across the street from the hotel where she lives with
her mother. The discovery reveals a disturbing side to the
eccentric lives of family friends Abner and Adolph Rumbaugh,
known throughout their small western Pennsylvania town
simply as the Twins.
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published April 18th 2006 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,310)
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Jun 13, 2010 karen rated it really liked it
Recommended to karen by: montambo

montambo recommended this book to me because i fear twins and their freakish abilities and the way they want to use mind control on us all. this book didn't make me change my mind w/r/t their potential for evil. at all. *

but for a teen audience, this? it opens with a wallace stevens quote, "in the presence of extraordinary actuality, consciousness takes the place of imagination"

already, this ain't no twilight.

and from there it goes into eugenics and mengele and taxidermy-as-love and m
Mar 29, 2011 Mariel rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Kinga
Recommended to Mariel by: karen
We didn't like this. Two stars: one from me, one from Lauren. Did I mention I read this twice because I read it telepathically with my twin sister, Lauren? Then Lauren read it twice because she was reading it with me. Her read count of two doubled my read count. It adds up. It really wasn't good enough to read that many times.

I'm mind reading Lauren right now. She says that this is one of those books where the narrator bashes you over the head with what they want to tell you. I say, "It's seen
So be sweet and kind to mother
Now and then have a chat
Buy her candy or some flowers
Or a brand new hat
But maybe you had better let it go at that...

Creepy twins, taxidermy, smotherly-love, eugenics...this book should provide nightmare-fodder for all ages!

(view spoiler)
Sep 14, 2007 Jesse rated it it was amazing
Shelves: teen, favorites
An extremely twisted story. The whole idea of taxidermy on humans is rather repulsive by common moral standards. But when maternal love is thrown into the picture, some may see this practice as nothing less than normal. Oh, and there is also the idea of eliminating men from the gene pool altogether....
Oct 14, 2008 Kricket rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned, 2008, audio
turns out that i am not interested in mother-love OR taxidermy.
Jul 11, 2011 Sesana rated it liked it
The love curse of the title is an obsessive mother-love that leaves Oedipus in the dust. A truly bizarre book, and one that is very difficult to rate. It is indeed very well-written, and it surely succeeds at what it attempts to do. I certainly couldn't put it down. But is it enjoyable? It's dark, very dark. And it's made even more unsettling by the narrator's matter-of-fact tone. I actually felt hugely relieved that the book was over and there was no more left for me to read. I did however, sta ...more
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
Sep 01, 2007 Krista the Krazy Kataloguer rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-ya
What a peculiar book! I didn't think I would like it, as I don't care for his Rotten Ralph books (even though I have my own Rotten Ralph!). However, it held me right to the end just because it was such a strange plot with such an odd bunch of characters.
Los Rumbaughs tienen una maldición: quieren demasiado a sus madres, si, así como lo leen, su maldición es esa, no la quieren en un sentido de complejo de edipo, nada de incesto y cosas enfermas de esas, bueno, solo cosas enfermas diferentes como el querer disecar a sus madres para tenerlas siempre con ellos.

El libro empieza con Ivy, una niña de 7 años que vive con su madre, la cual descubre en el sótano de la farmacia de los gemelos Rumbaugh la figura disecada de la madre de ellos, de ahí empiez
Apr 05, 2007 Brandy rated it really liked it
What is The Love Curse of the Rumbaughs? As a book, it's sort of what would happen if an old VC Andrews plot fell into the hands of a good writer and a better editor, and the 300 pages of gratuitous sex were removed. As a concept, the Love Curse is an excessive, obsessive mother-love, an Oedipal complex passed down through the generations. It's a dark, gothic story, involving taxidermy, identical twin brothers, their mother (from whom they can't bear to be parted), a young girl, and her mother. ...more
Jan 14, 2013 Luna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One day young Ivy discovers Mother Rumbaughs in the cellar of The Twins. First thinking the still figure is a life-sized doll Ivy is fascinated, once she realises it is actually the late Mother Rumbaughs she runs screaming from the cellar and into her arms of her mother. And thus the Rumbaughs curse is unlocked in Ivy.

The Love Curse of the Rumbaughs is twisted, complex and disturbing. Ivy’s story is a tale of nature vs. nurture. Her mother is convinced her nurture is enough to undo a curse which
A truly superb book. One of my favourites. Literary without being pretentious, interesting without being contrived, gothic without being repulsive. This book was deeply creepy, eerie and fascinating. The characters were amazingly well-drawn. The entire book held together as a coherent whole. It was very intelligent and empathic. I loved that Gantos stayed away from the typical teen cliches - there is no romance here (except of the twisted familial kind), no boyfriends and no ridiculous subplots. ...more
Oct 06, 2015 Ivy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: stand-alones
I picked this book up thinking it would be a nice, light hearted, middle grade novel based off the book cover. This was not the case. This book revolves around a little girl who inherits a cure that makes her obsessed with her mom. This whole book was very confusing. The characters didn’t really develop at all. The whole premise of the book seems innocent until you read it. It was just very creepy but not in a good way. There is some adult content in this book plus some Nazi things. There is not ...more
Jul 01, 2015 Alicia rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 29, 2014 Brooke rated it liked it
Well... man. I don't really know how to rate this. It was soooo good and yet... ick! So freakin' strange and grody!!! Amazing. Morbid. Well-written and totally grotesque. I'm still reeling and trying to process this amazing book that left my on the verge of dry-heaving and nightmares. Wow. Well, it certainly elicited a response... a STRONG response. I mean, heck, Jack Gantos is and AMAZING author and the book was undoubtedly a terrifically written book, but the content was INTENSE.

However, it al
Sep 06, 2007 Lucia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who like dead people and weirdos
I was warned before I stuck the first CD in the player, that this was going to be a weird one. I just hope I haven't scarred my unborn child.

So it is very weird. YES! But Jack Gantos is a wonderful author and he manages to tell the story of freaky love obsession in a way that can still be poetic at times, just right before something even more strange happens. It certainly gives a whole new understanding to the term, "head on a stick."

I will be going back to Joey Pigza books, however.
Apr 02, 2014 Brittany rated it liked it
Recommended to Brittany by: Sarah Poirier
Shelves: young-adult
Ivy discovers something very strange in the basements of the Pharmacy across the street from where she lives. She isn't sure what to do with the information and it unsettles her. Her mother tells her it has to do with the Rumbaugh's love curse and Ivy might have the curse too.

This was a very peculiar book and I'm not entirely sure if there are an young adults that I could recommend this too. There's love curses, taxidermy and plenty of other weird stuff packed in to this book. I feel like I miss
Laura Gardner
Aug 07, 2009 Laura Gardner rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya, audio, weird
I had to add a new shelf for this book: WEIRD. Ivy has a love curse and is completely obsessed with her mother. She's prepared to do whatever it takes to protect and preserve her mother for all time. The Rumbaugh twins are her guide in this as they also had the love curse. I listened to this while driving and frequently made "ewwww!" faces. Not for those with weak stomachs. But I liked it anyway!
Sep 10, 2015 Kami rated it really liked it
Oh, Jack Gantos, you weirdo. I like you. You wouldn't think creepy mother love would make for such funny and enjoyable and sad reading. I have to confess--for a couple days, I gave my three-year-old a look when she would say "I love mommy best." I have no idea what sort of person I'll be able to recommend this to at work, but someday I will.
Aug 24, 2007 Kate rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people with the Oedipus Complex, or who love their mother to scary amounts
Shelves: teen-fiction
How to describe this book....strange, twisted, sadistic, icky, scary, bizarre...etc.etc.
I don't know what Jack Gantos was on when he wrote this, but it has got to be the freakiest book I have ever read! Besides all that it is extremely well written and delves into some pretty interesting ideas. Yikes! I won't forget this one any time soon.
Mar 12, 2007 Steven rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone
This book is the best modern gothic tale since ever! It is written in the genre of YA Lit, but I would recomend it to any adult as well. There are creepy elements similar to Anthony Perkins Psycho and Arsenic and Old Lace. Humorous OMG!
Aug 16, 2011 Erin rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite books of all time. The sentimentality, strangeness, and weird sense of humor in this book all speak to me on a deeply personal level. I think everyone who can read (English) should read this.
Narrated by Lisa Datz. OMG, this novel is a psychological horror! As you begin the story you realize that something is off-kilter with Ivy and her mother, and definitely the Rumbaugh twins at the pharmacy. But you can't quite grasp what. Eventually the story builds with one horror after another until the shocking climax of Ivy succumbing to the Rumbaugh love curse. Lisa Datz's excellent interpretation makes this story even scarier: she reads in a matter-of-fact, everyday tone that belies the twi ...more
Nov 30, 2015 Kath rated it liked it
I really like Jack Gantos. I find his Joey Pigza and Norvelt books hilarious and very authentic. That's why I was expecting something hilariously macabre from the title and reviews of this book. I guess I had high expectations. The book was told from a girl's POV, which might have been what started it off on the wrong foot. It was interesting and well-informed, but I just couldn't get into it the way I could with his other novels. There were no bursts of laugh-out-loud that I usually get from Ga ...more
When my friend gave this book to me, both me and my friend assumed it was a children's book. But half way through the book I realized it was not for the audience I had pictured in mind. And I wasn't sure what to expect after. As a nonfiction reader, I found the book rather boring to start with. But later it only got creepy. I continued reading the book hoping for a complete ending, but it ended rather abruptly. Not the worst, but it left me a little disturbed, partly because I do really love my ...more
Oct 24, 2008 Amy rated it did not like it
This book was so bizarre. I only read it because of a book discussion group I participated in. Then we heard the author speak. He was hilarious and told us that parts of the story were actually TRUE!
Jul 05, 2008 Jennifer rated it really liked it
Shelves: teen-books, audio
Like a car wreck. You want to look away, but you just cant.
Sep 08, 2015 smetchie rated it it was ok
It should have been creepy but it wasn't. I hate that.
Aug 27, 2015 Cristi-Lael rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult, own
I bought this book and was really looking forward to it because I've read some of his other works and actually liked them. However, this book was just twisted and disturbing. It's reminiscent of psycho, and was entirely too repetitive. I found myself getting really tired hearing how much Ivy loved her mother, really. And everything about the twins turned me off.
No, this book just wasn't for me. I ended up having to pick up another book after I finished this last night because I needed to "clean
Jun 22, 2015 Taylor rated it it was ok
I don't even know what I just read. I snagged this book for extremely cheap, it sounded interesting enough, I couldn't resist. I desperately wanted to read a book in one sitting, and this was the shortest one on my shelf, so I grabbed it and my book light and began reading. I have NEVER stopped reading in the middle of a book to think about how extremely messed up the author had to be to write this until now. I love weird, but this was just too weird for me. Also, the paper back cover made me be ...more
Nancy Lockett
Aug 20, 2011 Nancy Lockett rated it it was ok
Shelves: teen, read-in-2011
One straaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaange book!
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Jack Gantos is an American author of children's books renowned for his portrayal of fictional Joey Pigza, a boy with ADHD, and many other well known characters such as Rotten Ralph, Jack Henry, Jack Gantos (memoirs) and others. Gantos has won a number of awards, including the Newbery, the Newbery Honor, the Scott O'Dell Award, the Printz Honor, and the Sibert Honor from the American Library Associ ...more
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“At the time I didn't realize their lie was a defense against the fear they had of losing their mother. I was still too young to understand that most lies were not about stealing or fighting or cheating but were just ways by which a person shrinks their whole world down to a size they can keep protected in the palm of one hand.” 4 likes
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