Mariel's Reviews > Ramblefoot

Ramblefoot by Ken  Kaufman
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Dec 04, 2011

liked it
Recommended to Mariel by: the goodreads god
Recommended for: was Bambis mama's death too hard on you?
Read in January, 2012

There's a feature on goodreads that you can put in a question for requesting friends to answer. Mine is "Which book would you want to live in?" It's interesting to me which books these are for others. I've found some good books this way. The kind of books that someone wants to be real. That's what I want. (I have declined people who wrote something about how they wouldn't want to live in a book. "I love my life!" They probably wouldn't like me anyway. Good for you, then! But did they *sob* have to say "Why would anyone want to live in a book?!" Because!) I don't really know the answer to that myself, not definitively. I would like to travel. Watership Down is the book that I felt like I really did live in it. That feeling is precious to me. I want to live it as often as I possibly can. (I haven't reread it more than twice. I'm "saving" it for when I really need it.)

If something is compared to Watership Down I will want to read it. It was obvious that I was leading up to this, right? "They aren't allowed to leave the house and they gotta have babies for the iron fisting man of that house? That sounds like General Woundwort! Sign me up!" You might recall my adventures last year with Watership Down with Birds and More Watership Down with Birds. They are immensely popular. If my goodreads bud Manny invoked the great Watership Down name that's all I need to be as slutty as a bunny once more. Plus, I like the cover.

I don't know what it is about Watership Down that made me lose myself in it. If I knew I would be making up wonderful stories that don't feel like just stories for myself right now instead of this review. I would be happy. I didn't think about me at all. Richard Adams did not succeed in recreating this in More Tales from Watership Down or Plague Dogs. Beak of the Moon didn't have it. They aren't bad books, or anything, they just didn't have the lived in feeling. Beak of the Moon was too self conscious. If you could hardly take a bite because the sound of your own crunching on cereal disturbed you that would be Beak of the Moon. Or if I wrote a story that detailed every freaking step. I started and ended on the wrong foot. Way too boring and someone sucked the air out of the room (not to mention the bizarre propaganda for the birds themselves. Keas can't read! Although they are incredibly intelligent creatures and with better problem solving skills than I have. They don't know you are telling them not to eat the sheep they need to survive. They wouldn't need it if man hadn't destroyed their natural habitats! Weirdo). Ramblefoot is self conscious in a different way. It's like telling a fairy tale with a moral of the story in place right beside you as you are conscious of walking. I never forgot that I was reading the book. Kaufman would throw in such asides as (not a direct quote) "All troubled young wolves know that... or feel that..." I want to feel it with him. I want to forget about me. If you love yourself then everyone else will love you. Platitudes, really. Well meaning, but you can't live platitudes. (Please don't tell me that you can live platitudes and I've been doing everything all wrong this whole time.)

I liked that Kaufman went for the angle about the lone wolf and living in a pack survival mentality. It was more than the looking for the home to be yourself in and then figuring it out later who the self is. The self is the home. Hunger in the belly, who do you absolutely have to have to survive. Food is loneliness and that starvation is the hunger. The survival of the fittest angle in Beak of the Moon (everyone has read this so I don't feel bad about constantly making comparisons) depressed the shit out of me. Isn't there more to life than that? Ramblefoot was wolf versus wolf. I mean wolf in wolf's clothing. I mean the inner wolf. It's an edge of the bigger life. The wolves get "meat drunk" a lot (and partake in "meat orgies". It's not what it sounds like and is totally what it sounds like. If you are thinking of what I am thinking of). Life is eating, shitting, fucking and rolling over for the dog eat dog. I can believe that without the greeting card on my birthdays to remind me I haven't figured everything out yet. Sure, Raspail could get kind of emo (coughs) doing the lone wolf thing. I am not a rational reviewer, though, so I mentally complained about the pack urge. The love interest Kileo who makes him work for it but also saves his life and never gives up, leading the other wolves in his absence blah blah. I felt as if I were reading it as a flashback it was so predictable. I believed it more when he wasn't yearning to be apart of something else. If it had felt like something you missed, instead of a how it should be (freaking fairy tales). If I imagined how a wolf felt when he was on the chase for the kill I wouldn't be trying to imagine anything beyond that. Maybe it is hard to be a wolf because you think about the rules too much. Packs mean other people. Lick the wounds and regroup. Eat even though it won't last and you'll only break your diet. Also, I'm not a normal pack kind of girl and the marriage and the kids and the house is too abstract. I loved his raven friend, Poitu. The bird wasn't what anyone is handed down in the spoken or unspoken rules of society. That shit just doesn't happen. They had no rules. Maybe I just wanted to live it without thinking about what the rules are so much like Poitu. Rules of storytelling, maybe. Gut feeling and not what you tell yourself is really good advice and maybe you had best follow it. The whole fairytale thing! Tell yourself a story and you don't have a rules playbook.

It might not be a bad thing that I didn't feel one of the pack, as far as rationally judging a books merit goes. None of them really did feel like they could belong. Position isn't secure. You have to fight for it. Dominated or dominating (yes, I mean that kind of dominate. I haven't been this creeped out since the attempted rape scene in Dark of the Moon). My gr buddy Mark Monday mentioned in his review that pack animals may not resent their placement in a pack as they do in Ramblefoot. I see a lot of power play just with my dogs so it may be possible. I don't know that much about wolves except that they look awesome on posters and t-shirts set against awesome backgrounds of lightning storms. Kaufman seems to have researched and made shit up equally. One wolf puts his "arm" around another wolf. The dwarf wolf does a back flip. The baddie inexplicably takes his revenge against young Raspail when he fails to dominate the white wolf he lusts over (ruining Raspail's life for some time to come). It was hard to take it seriously when it was so ridiculous his whole issue was over that. (It was pretty icky when another wolf's penis is stuck inside his bitches ass. Played for slapstick effect.) He reminded me of when my chihuahua/feist mutt Seamus humps his toys. He'll cry and hold onto it with his teeth, breathing heavily before having another go at it. The image didn't exactly make me feel the drama. He was as confused about pack life as Raspail. It shouldn't have been pathetically humorous. I can tell myself that things work and other things don't work if I force my brain to be book review objective. Besides all that, I know it's not a bad book. I also know that it wasn't as good as I wanted it to be. If I knew how I would write my own book and me and Bigwig would be hanging out better than Raspail and any of his wolves ever could. Poitu can come over. Ravens are just as cool on t-shirts.

Oh yeah, and a disclaimer. I could have read this for free. Manny kindly offered to and did contact the author, Ken Kaufman, on my behalf. He still needed my address and I had one of my moments that I probably shouldn't admit to on goodreads of not contacting the author with my address. Anyway, I paid the $1.99 on kindle. That I did that is totally in keeping with Ramblefoot, though! I know I'm being dumb and I'm gonna do it anyway. Don't ask me to explain it! Wait until a writer tries to make up what he thinks howling at the moon sounds like. Maybe they'll get some of it right.
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Comments (showing 1-19 of 19) (19 new)

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message 1: by Jenn(ifer) (new)

Jenn(ifer) You and Riku asked that question, and you both want to live in the same book! How cool is that??


Mariel He got it from me, I think. I'm a pack leader! No, no I'm not. It is cool. He's not the only one to answer Watership Down either. There were some spamming mystery authors who also answered it. I'm paranoid and didn't accept them. Could have been a trick.


message 3: by Lauren (new)

Lauren
Yeaaah!

I want to write a book about platypus with platitudes.
It'll be the new "It isn't easy being green" that I can be forced to read at work to learn to be positive.
He should be on tshirts rather than other Disney characters I can think of.a


message 4: by Jenn(ifer) (new)

Jenn(ifer) Mariel wrote: "He got it from me, I think. I'm a pack leader! No, no I'm not. It is cool. He's not the only one to answer Watership Down either. There were some spamming mystery authors who also answered it. I'm ..."

In the immortal words of Ozzy Osbourne "paranoia, self destroy-a" ;)


Mariel Lauren wrote: "
Yeaaah!

I want to write a book about platypus with platitudes.
It'll be the new "It isn't easy being green" that I can be forced to read at work to learn to be positive.
He should be on tshi..."

I did think of Disney even though Ranblefoot was conciously unclean.


Mariel Ozzy knows. He would bite the head off a bat and the wolves would make him their leader.


message 7: by Jenn(ifer) (new)

Jenn(ifer) Whenever I have a tough decision to make, I always ask "what would Ozzy do?"


Mariel Maybe that's where I was missing it on platitudes. Empire of the Sun by Jg Ballard has always been my guide book. I have the necessities of life. Bit what if I have enough potatoes?


Mariel Damn, I got distracted by the sex and forgot to mention The Jungle Book. Kipling vs Disney. This being maybe too close to Disney, despite the violence and sex. Ideals wise, I mean. And then I wouldn't have another repetitive review about rape and meat orgies!


message 10: by Jenn(ifer) (new)

Jenn(ifer) Mariel wrote: "Damn, I got distracted by the sex and forgot to mention The Jungle Book. Kipling vs Disney. This being maybe too close to Disney, despite the violence and sex. Ideals wise, I mean. And then I would..."

Ha! Too close to Disney is an automatic star reduction in my book. And Ozzy's.


Mariel It tried not to be. But it still was. Not that I dislike all Disney. 101 Dalmatians are my dogs.


message 12: by Jenn(ifer) (new)

Jenn(ifer) Pixar is where it's at.


Mariel And John Lassiter talking for waaaay too long (at all) before Miyazaki DVDs.


message 14: by Jenn(ifer) (new)

Jenn(ifer) "Life is eating, shitting, fucking and rolling over for the dog eat dog" ... Sigh.


Mariel It is in this book. Until the platitudes.

I liked the beginning about conquering hunger. That was the best part. My review didn't mention that either. That's what I get waiting months to review these things.


message 16: by knig (new)

knig So, in my tweens I devoured everything by Jack London: I wonder if this book alludes in any way...


Mariel Yes, I think so because Mark said it did. I barely remember Jack London myself.


message 18: by mark (new) - rated it 3 stars

mark monday love this review. and i'm going to steal your question and use it too. my simple "why?" question gets the blandest answers. seriously, one of them was "why not". another was "so we could share books!!! :)"... ugh.


Mariel I have found it's a great way to get to know potential friends AND get book recs. My old question was "Are you an author just trying to sell me books?" I got "yes" far too often.


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