Lori Spadea's Reviews > Punkzilla

Punkzilla by Adam Rapp
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Jul 19, 2011

it was amazing

I really liked the way this book was written in letters. It made the switch from points of view feel natural and easy to follow. The letters were very raw. Jamie (Punkzilla) was 14 but had seen much more than most 14 year olds. I understood why his parents sent him to military school. He was definitely headed down a very bad path. His mom seemed a decent enough person. He seemed to really love her. The way he worried that about how he was upsetting her by being gone showed his love and concern for her. His father was very militant. He treated their mom badly and it really effected the boys. Punk had 2 brothers 1 was at home and a high military achiever, the other had left home at 23 after coming out to his family as gay. The family was very unaccepting and he had left home. Punk was a completely different story. He had made bad choices and begun steeling and doing drugs so his parents had sent him to military school,which actually did seem to be in his best interest. Military school didn't prove to be such a good choice for him because he was not a tough guy and couldn't cut the mustard. He was scared and somewhat of a failure despite his best attempts. His father, mother, and brother Edward were coming for parents weekend, so he left (went AWOL, ran away) and became a runaway homeless kid. At first he hitchhiked and had some bad experiences (the first man being a child molester). Eventually, Punk ended up in Portland in a hotel for homeless kids, on his own. He describes how he stole things for a boss who sold the items and gave him money. He had some friends that were as messed up, or worse than he was. His other brother, Peter, wrote him a letter and asked him to come to Memphis because he was dying, so he set out to get to his dying brother.
Seems simple enough, his brother gave him money for a bus but he got jumped. Over the next few months, he tries everything he can to get to his brother. The journey is hard and nothing that a 14 year old should ever have to go through. The end of the story is bittersweet. I couldn't put this book down, I was so concerned for Punk and his brother Peter. I liked the writing style a lot. There was definitely some inappropriate language and situations, not appropriate for middle school, maybe high school. Definitely earned its award!
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