Karl's Reviews > Tales of the Madman Underground

Tales of the Madman Underground by John Barnes
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's review
Mar 03, 2010

it was amazing
Read from March 03 to 04, 2010

I feel like a mailbag in an old movie. I was sitting quietly, enjoying the sunshine, when a freight train blew by and hooked me screaming into the distance. That train was Tales of the Madman Underground.

The book has elements in common with great YA novels like The Perks of Being a Wallflower and Define "Normal". What sets it apart is narrator Karl's caustic humor and the story's breakneck pace. In just over 500 pages, it covers five days of high school for Karl and his friends, but also manages to tell most of the story of Karl's life. If it weren't for pesky things like work and sleep, I could have read it in five hours, laughing, gasping, and crying by turns.

I can't recommend this wonderful book highly enough. Buy two copies so you have one to loan to your friends while you read the other again and again and again.

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Reading Progress

03/03/2010 page 4
0.75% "5 paragraphs in, & I can already tell I'm gonna love this guy, & not just because his name is Karl."
03/03/2010 page 109
20.49% "Funny as hell, with a constant undercurrent of pathos. Brilliant."

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