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The Love Curse of the Rumbaughs

3.22  ·  Rating details ·  812 Ratings  ·  222 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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Rating details
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Jun 12, 2010 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 12, 2011 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 22, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2008
turns out that i am not interested in mother-love OR taxidermy.
Sep 10, 2007 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....
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
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.
Mar 24, 2011 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
Aug 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
I heard Jack Gantos talk about this book while discussing eugenics. It sounded interesting enough to read. The introduction tells you that some of the story is true and it is up to you to decide how much. I would have really liked a conclusion that spelled it out so that I'd know. The book is weird enough to believe that none of it is true.
Jun 15, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Still not entirely sure how I feel about this one. A very short read, but still felt super slow at times.
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 03, 2007 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
Dec 25, 2012 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
Aug 03, 2015 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
Sep 06, 2007 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.
Aug 24, 2007 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.
Laura Gardner
Aug 07, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 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!
Jan 21, 2014 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.
Jan 07, 2011 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.
Mar 11, 2007 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!
Nancy Lockett
Aug 20, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: teen, read-in-2011
One straaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaange book!
Jul 05, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: teen-books, audio
Like a car wreck. You want to look away, but you just cant.
Jun 08, 2010 rated it it was ok
It should have been creepy but it wasn't. I hate that.
Sep 15, 2008 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!
Aug 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Morbidly and wonderfully grotesque. I picked this up for $1 at a sale in a bookshop in Toronto, and I'm so glad that I did.
This book is creepily and enticingly executed, and I was addicted with the gothic depictions of love and familial ties. Although it contains many taboo topics (the events of the end-oh my God!) it is nicotine to my indulgent curiosity. Throughout the entire book one has a sense of being at the edge of something large- and when it hits, the author does not disappoint. Is it
May 28, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: creepy
I honestly don't know what I expected this book to be like as I went into it completely blind. However, I certainly didn't expect what it ended up being. Part of me really liked it and part of me didn't know what to think. It was sort of creepy. And not the creepy like scary, ghost story but sort of an uncomfortable creepy, like what you're reading about is intruding too much on the private and intimate life of a family.

But the story was really well written and I know this review is confusing an
Jan 27, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 22-29
So, so odd...but that is the Gantos way. I have mixed emotions. I didn't hate it, but I didn't necessarily love it either. The story is intriguing and I've always been fascinated by the author's style, but I guess I am just having trouble connecting to the characters on an emotional level. I didn't feel drawn to any of them and thought the story simple in regards to character development.
Bonnie Barnes
Nov 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: just-for-me
This timely and thought-provoking love/horror story in the tradition of Edgar Allen Poe and Bram Stoker sheds light on important issues today: eugenics, immigration, and family ties. It's time for a revival of this book; Gantos makes you want to turn the next page, so it won't take long to read.
Aug 12, 2017 rated it liked it
Descriptive and imaginative, but I can't imagine who it's written for and who I could possibly recommend it to.
Jul 21, 2017 rated it liked it
This is a bizarre, yet compelling story. Short and a bit freaky. Definitely entertaining.
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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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