N.E. White's Reviews > Leatherstone

Leatherstone by David Patrick Pabian
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's review
May 17, 2012

it was amazing
Read from June 02 to 09, 2012

Leatherstone is David Patrick Pabian’s first novel, but he is no stranger to writing. An accomplished screenwriter and ghostwriter, Mr. Pabian’s work is top-notch. However, just because you can write, doesn’t necessarily mean you can tell a story.

Let me assure you, Mr. Pabian can tell a story.

Leatherstone begins with a simple excerpt. A snippet of a desperate story. Like a flash of lightning, Leatherstone’s introduction sears the man’s story into our minds and sets the tone for the book, promising a grizzly tale.

Leatherstone is about John Garrett, or Champ. A boy at the edge of manhood whose life is anything but perfect. He lives in anywhere-middle-town-America on the wrong side of the tracks. He’s a bit of nerd. His older sister is mentally disabled. And to top it off, his father is a godless man. Set in the mid-1960′s or so, all these characteristics make Champ one of the least popular kids at school. When his mother dies and his uncle moves in to help take care of Champ and his sister, things only get worse. Champ’s father is away more than not, his uncle is drunk more than he is sober, and Champ gets it into this head that he can resurrect the dead – just like in the Frankenstein movies he sees on TV.

With a couple of older boys (more interested in getting into Champ’s sister’s panties than him), Champ begins experimenting on animals. Though the two older boys chide and ridicule him at his failed attempts, Champs keeps trying. Even after they abandon him and he finds a dead man out in the forest near his home, he keeps trying.

And then he succeeds.

Champ thinks he has created a being with no history. With no past to muddy their relationship, Champ and his newly created friend, Frank, begin a surreal and awkward relationship full of poignant moments, hard truths of life, and a tension ready to crack. Knowing the tale of Mary Shelley‘s original Frankenstein, the reader cringes at the nativity of youth that Champ insists on maintaining, as any kid his age would. When it becomes clear to him that Frank might have a violent past, he still clings to a bright future, a future where he and Frank can live in an alternate world where their relationship would be normal.

But resurrecting a dead man is anything but normal, and Champ’s life spirals out of control. He loses his uncle, his sister, and then the only friend and hero he ever had.

Mr. Pabian leaves us with a searing portrait of a bizarre life that smacks of familiarity. The reader can easily relate to Champ and his need for acceptance among his peers. We understand his interest in resurrecting the dead stemmed from the anguish he must have felt when his mother died. And we even begin to hope that Champ and Frank’s friendship has a chance. They both want it so badly to work, but in the end, it just doesn’t. It can’t.

Told in the first-person narrative, Leatherstone reads like a personal essay, seamlessly weaving the thoughts of the old Champ re-telling the story, and the action and thoughts of the pre-teen Champ. Mr. Pabian’s prose is easy to read and, in places, draw lifelike scenes that will be with me for some time. The author also has a poetic tendency that gives a lyrical slant to the morbid.

Highly recommended.
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Reading Progress

06/07/2012 page 117
54.0% "Interesting tale. I'm both taken by the main character, Champ, and repulsed by what he does. Whatever is coming, the end can not be good. I feel for him."

Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

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N.E. White I just finished it. I very much enjoyed it. But it ain't for the faint of heart (or deeply religious).

N.E. White Oh, I do think you might be interested in it, considering your interest in the slave/master relationship. What Champ and Frank have together is different, but deep and scarred. Thought provoking.

N.E. White C.S. wrote: "I read the sample, and it didn't catch my interest."

Ah, well. :)

message 4: by M.G. (new)

M.G. Mason Thanks for the recommendations. Sounds interesting!

N.E. White C.S. wrote: "Yeah, sometimes the description of a book is better than the book. But I always appreciate the chance to discover a new author."

Oh, but I loved it! But I think our tastes differ. But like you said, that's what is so cool about samples! We can test drive an author. :)

N.E. White procrastin8or wrote: "Thanks for the recommendations. Sounds interesting!"

I enjoyed it. I hope you will too.

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