Book Review – The Charlatan’s Boy

“See a genuine he-feechie alive and in the flesh!  Amazing! Astonishing!  You’ve never seen anyone like him!”

The life of a traveling huckster was the only life Grady could remember.  He had played the part of “The Wild Man of Feechiefen Swamp” for so long, he believed he WAS a feechie.  But ever since people stopped believing in feechies, Grady and “Perfesser” Floyd were having a harder time coming up with new ideas to trick people out their hard-earned money.  To top it off, the “perfesser” shocked Grady by telling him that Grady WASN’T a feechie at all.  Now, with every new change in venue, Grady wonders more and more where he fits in and whether he could ever have a family or even a friend who would truly like him, let alone LOVE him.  When Floyd hits on the idea of reviving the feechie business, the results are often hilarious and the final outcome completely unexpected.

In The Charlatan’s Boy, Jonathan Rogers weaves a spellbinding tale that will have you keeping late nights just to read one more page.  The characters are believable and the word-pictures Rogers creates stir up the imagination.  But the star of the book is Grady, who narrates the story in the first person, telling of the hijinks and hoaxes he and Floyd perpetrate.  Although he travels with Floyd helping him make his living by tricking others, it is more out of a sense of belonging and duty that he does so. Grady knows what he is doing is dishonest, but tries to justify the lies by telling himself that it’s for a good cause, even if that cause was making Floyd rich.  But even here, Grady’s conscious is pulling him one way while his sense of duty goes another.  “I’m think I’m an honest feller.  I want to do what’s right, but I ain’t had a lot of practice at it.  Being in Floyd’s employ, a feller don’t get a lot of opportunity to exercise his honesty muscle.”

The theme woven throughout the book is Grady’s down-to-earth musings about life, especially a life characterized by knowing (or the lack of knowing) who a person is. (“A man who makes a habit of telling the truth assumes that other folks is in the same habit.”)  Unlike many other books of this genre targeting Christian young adults, the tone is never preachy or moralizing.  It’s simply the story of one boy trying to find where he belongs in the world.  Grady, when faced with his new future and finally realizing Floyd’s meanness, perfectly summarizes in one sentence the truth we come to see in his story:

“It was true that I was a charlatan’s boy, but there was things about me that was a whole lot truer.”

I would highly recommend this book.

Thanks to Waterbook Multnomah for sending me a complementary review copy of this book.


Hi, thanks for reading my review of The Charlatan’s Boy by Jonathan Rogers.  I need your help with something. I reviewed this book as part of WaterBrook Multnomah’s Blogging for Books program. (A great program by the way.  If you are interested in reviewing books check out the link to the side. —>)  This month (December) they are having a contest to give away an e-reader (either a Sony, Kindle or Nook).

In order to win, a person has to post a book review during the month of December and have others rate the review. The reviewer with the highest rated review wins. That’s where I need your help. Would you mind going to this link and rating the review that I posted above? If you do so, leave a comment below and you’ll be entered in a drawing to win this book from me.

Thanks in advance!

2 Responses

  1. How timely! The CSFF Blog Tour is featuring The Charlatan’s Boy this week, Stephen. I love the sentence you identified as the one that carries the theme. This is an excellent review.


  2. […] Posted on January 11, 2011 by Stephen Before I announce the winner of The Charlatan’s Boy by Jonathan Rogers, I want to say a HUGE thank you to everyone who voted for my review in […]

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