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Hug Chickenpenny: The Panegyric of an Anomalous Child

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4.01  ·  Rating details ·  220 ratings  ·  61 reviews
"S. Craig Zahler is certain to become one of the great imaginers of our time." ― Clive Barker

Hug Chickenpenny is an anomalous child. Born from tragedy and unknown paternity, this asymmetrical and white-haired baby inspires both ire and pity at the orphanage, until the day that an elderly eccentric adopts him as a pet. The upbeat boy's spirit is challenged in his new home
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Paperback, 264 pages
Published January 23rd 2018 by Cinestate
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Average rating 4.01  · 
Rating details
 ·  220 ratings  ·  61 reviews


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Max III
Jul 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Kind of an abrupt ending, but still enjoyable. Sad and fun. Very bizarre. Think BIG FISH and Lemony Snicket and THE ELEPHANT MAN.
Keely
Oct 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Hug Chickenpenny is one of the most surprising books that I have read this year.

When I opened the Night Worms July 2019 subscription package, I was rather indifferent to this one. The cover art is incredible but, I had no idea who the author was, and the title did not strike an immediate chord with me.
I am constantly months, sometimes years, behind everyone else when it comes to reading what has just been released. Sure, I scoop up new releases from authors that I love or releases that are “
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Jess Hagemann
Sep 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
HUG CHICKENPENNY is the most surprising book I’ve read in a long time. I was won over first by the intriguing title, and next by the titular character, who you can’t help but fall in love with despite—or because of—his ‘anomalies.’ His physical appearance is grotesque, but more anomalous, in the end, is the metaphorical size of his heart—and the ways in which he impacts everyone who has the honor of meeting him. Part coming-of-age story, part would-be-astronaut adventure, HUG is like a more ...more
Kimberly
HUG CHICKENPENNY: The Panegyric of an Anomalous Child, by S. Craig Zahler was unlike anything I'd ever read. A very different coming-of-age tale, and very emotional all throughout.

I instantly fell for this little boy who elicited horror, pity, and occasionally love, in all who saw him. It's near impossible to tell much more about the story without giving it away. Personally, I thought the tale was very original, and I read it in a single sitting. However, as interesting as it was, I felt the
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Jessica
Where to begin with this book? Hug Chickenpenny: The Panegyric of an Anomalous Child is unlike anything that I've read before. It's a coming of age story, but with a fantasy bent that makes it completely unique. I can promise that whatever you think you're going to find in these pages you're, at most, only about half right. If you've seen Bone Tomahawk, you might have a general idea about the brilliant oddness that Zahler can create. Just go into this book with an open mind, and prepare yourself ...more
Justin
Mar 21, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The whole time I was reading this book, I kept thinking, this is a great story (a beautiful story, even) that is, unfortunately, told by the wrong person. Zahler tries too hard to be or sound Dickensian; it doesn't work. He tries too hard to sound sophisticated; it doesn't work. He can't handle the complexity and nuance it would take to tell this story the way it deserves to be told.

It was okay. I enjoyed it. I wouldn't read it again, nor would I recommend it someone who is looking for a good
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Steve
Dec 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
While Hug Chickenpenny: The Panegyric of an Anomalous Child is not something I'd normally read and had me reaching for the dictionary more than once, it's one of those books that I know will stay with me for a long, long time. Zahler's work will do that. Like his damning westerns Wraiths of the Broken Land and A Congregation of Jackals (ironically enough, the western is another genre I've never read before those), Hug Chickenpenny is much more than literature. It's an experience.

You can read my
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Eamon
Apr 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
"Sometimes art is supposed to upset you"
"Why?"
"It might help you work through some of your own bad feelings or change how you look at yourself or something you're experiencing or somebody who know or once knew. And often, there're hidden messages in this kind of art that you don't see right away-so it can make you think, which is never a bad thing."

Whatever Zahler writes, I'll read.
almonds
Aug 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
tim burton would be proud
Mike
Aug 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: night-worms
I recently received this book from the Night Worms monthly subscription package (you need to check them out if you haven't already), and this book looked so odd, with a title that sent me to the dictionary to find out what a couple of the words meant, that I moved it to the top of my TBR pile. Wow. So many feels with this book. Hug is such a great character that you can't help but fall in love with his spirit and resilience. At times the story channels the vibe of Series Of Unfortunate Events, ...more
Kyle Johnson
Feb 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Unlike any of his previous works, S. Craig Zahler tells the heartbreaking story of Hug Chickenpenny in the vein of classic Tim Burton. This is a pretty straightforward tale that comes to life through colorful dialogue. This novel further cements the fact that S. Craig Zahler is a master storyteller by venturing and excelling in different genres than he has established himself in.

I recommend this book if you enjoyed the following: Edward Scissorhands, Big Fish, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar
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Jared Howes
Feb 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
At present, I will tell you that you will love the anomalous boy and his story. You will achieve the full range of the emotional experience, never knowing who to love or hate or laugh or scowl at. Unique and intriguing.
Jacob Bruce
Apr 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I am devastated.
Doug
Mar 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If Tim Burton and Mervyn Peake got together to update one of Dickens' orphan novels ... it would probably look something like this.
Erica Metcalf
Apr 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: book-club-work
Hug Chickenpenny: The Panegyric of an Anomalous Child by S. Craig Zahler is a wonderfully bizarre but heartbreaking tale filled to the brim with symbolism.

This is one that you should not read alone! Trust me. You're going to want to talk about it! I'm so glad that this was the book pick for my work book club. We had such an amazing conversation about it.

Phew, what a read this was! No matter how long I've tried to organize my thoughts... I just keep wanting to type out the same things; this is
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Sam Gor
Apr 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
He did it again.
He is 5 books for 5 now which makes me even more excited to see what he's gonna do in film.

Anyway, this is 264 pages and I would say it could've been longer, more like 300.

Now, I never grew up with Snicket but I feel Chickenpenny encompasses that vibe but written in a way that at my age I could enjoy. Reading Snicket now is troublesome and cumbersome for me.

Beyond that things could've been fleshed out even more with characters and that world, I really enjoyed this.

The origin of
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Anita
Feb 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This story reminded me of the life of Joseph Merrick, also known as the "Elephant Man," on account of his physical deformity. The boy in this book was born disfigured, and was subsequently named Hug by one of the caretakers in the orphanage he was sent to -- because he would need all the love that he could get.

Following a literary trope of societal outcasts, Hug's life followed an pattern of peaks and troughs. At every turn when he had just about settled into some semblance of 'normal' life, the
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Jimmy Ranieri
Apr 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, adventure
If you like the movie The Grand Budapest Hotel, you may like this book. But keep in mind that this is in regards to the writing (or narrating) style, NOT the content. Hug Chickenpenny is written in such an interesting style that the comparison to the Grand Budapest Hotel is the first thing that popped into my head, even though the stories told by each are nothing at all alike.

I had only picked this up at the library on my way out with a CJ Box book that I like for easy reading. I usually pick
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Donovan Maxwell
Feb 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Chagil
Oct 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Could be read as a parable and/or a commentary on how we deal with illness, physical disability, and abuse on both personal and social scales. It's a life affirming magical realism tale centered on a Christ-figure child persevering through a grotesque and abusive world.

The prose is all over the place. Unnecessary use of many obscure words, the noun phrases for each character are repeated excessively, and most of the imagery and action is delivered through some strange syntax. The story,
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Alaric
Aug 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book so much. I’ll be honest, I have not been reading nearly as much as I have been in the past, and despite me wanting to, I really haven’t. When I first read about this book, I was instantly intrigued by it, and I instantly wanted to read it, and I’m really glad I did. I prefer books that are constantly interesting and engaging, or at the very least, I prefer them while I am trying to get back into reading, and this book remained interesting the entire time I was reading it. Not ...more
Kelly
Feb 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: giveaway-wins
I won this book on a GoodReads giveaway and quite honestly not a book I would normally read. I was so intrigued after the first chapter, I couldn’t wait to find a break in my day to read the next chapter. it was compelling, funny, heartwarming and heartbreaking ....fabulous tale of a boy so apparently and uncomfortably different from everyone but unwavering in his kindness for all. Truly a book that I will keep thinking about long after I’ve read it. It’s an easy read but so full of unique ...more
Linsey Knerl
Jul 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror
Strange and beautiful read for those who like stories in a tone of Series of Unfortunate Events and Roald Dahl. A “deformed” boy is treated terribly but retains his childlike innocence and love for others, even while harnessing an above-average intelligence. I loved the wordplay and quotes throughout. The supporting characters were deeply flawed and yet likable. It moves quickly. Plan on reading it straight through. It did leave me with more questions than answers, but somehow it works. It’s a ...more
Alex Reneski
Feb 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An entertaining, tear jerking parable? Poor Hug is so "anomalous" as to be almost grotesque. From the age of about 7 he returns good thoughts for cruel actions. Book is well written entertainment, but bears as much likeness to real life as the number of times you have used "anomalous" and "panegyric" in the same sentence.
An entertaining feel good book well deserving of being a good read.


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R. C.
Aug 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The first chapter was awkward and ugly and I didn't get it right away. By the end of the third chapter I felt like a fool. The protagonist is awkward and ugly and no one gets him right away, and by the end... This story, which is absurdist and confusing and alarming, is going to inform my heart forever.
MC Hall
Feb 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018, favorites
I received an ARC through a goodreads giveaway.

I knew i would love this book after i read the very first chapter. This book made me have all kinds of feelings. I absolutely adored it. Reminded me alot of Series of Unfortunate Events and Big Fish at times. I implore you to pick up this book. It had me crying my eyes out at the end.
Angie Hershey Boehm
Sep 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: giveaways
I had to dissect my feelings when I finished this. I have to say that I enjoyed it.

I don't read very many character-driven novels, so at times this was kind of slow for me. However, it was interesting to follow Hug's life and see how he impacted the people around him. There are a couple of questions that I did not get answers to, and I wanted to know more about Meredith.
Sonya
Apr 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Enjoyed the book. Fans of Miss Pettigrews Home for Peculiar children but less scary. Perfect book for older elementary and middle school kids to read to not bully other children who have physical differences that may seem out of the norm. Easy read. Heard its going to be a movie.
Will
Jul 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant coming-of-age/quest novel with a marvelous hero, written by the director of Bone Tomahawk, this is a quite different, but no less amazing story. Highly recommended.
Kevin Schnurr
Nov 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Welp, I read this in two days and it just entered my all-time favorite works of fiction. Thanks for the amazing recommendation, Meag!
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"S. Craig Zahler is certain to become one of the great imaginers of our time." ― Clive Barker

Novelist S. Craig Zahler is also the writer, director, and musical co-composer for the movies, Bone Tomahawk, Brawl in Cell Block 99, and Dragged Across Concrete

"Five-plus stars to Hug Chickenpenny. Complex, well-drawn characterizations, compelling imagery and a well-ordered story..." ― Publishers Daily
...more
“Sometimes art is supposed to upset you"
"Why?"
"It might help you work through some of your own bad feelings or change how you look at yourself or something you're experiencing or somebody who know or once knew. And often, there're hidden messages in this kind of art that you don't see right away-so it can make you think, which is never a bad thing.”
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