Wednesday, August 05, 2009

HUGE by James Fuerst

I received a copy of HUGE from Random House Library after hearing a lot of good buzz about it. I was so excited to read it!

HUGE follows the adventures of would-be detective Eugene "Huge" Smalls, the smallest, meanest and angriest kid in the sixth grade. HUGE pulled me in immediately with its nod to the detective novels of old. Since Huge is a fan of Raymond Chandler and other detective noir characters, he speaks their language which is very amusing for the reader. At the start of the book, Huge is hired by his grandmother to solve a mystery which will take him to places he has never been and give him a purpose.

Huge should be an unlikeable character. He is angry, scrappy and unpleasant. He doesn't play well with others and constantly gets into trouble. But Fuerst has found the heart of this character. You cannot help but love Huge as he tries to navigate the difficults of the preteen life as a child with an above-average IQ and a below-average ability to deal with others. In many ways, this book reminded me of AN ABUNDANCE OF KATHERINES by John Green although Huge is much more of a social pariah than Colin Singleton.

Ultimately, Huge is a coming of age story about a boy trying to understand the world around him. He makes mistakes and his perceptions of reality do not always play out. The mystery is almost a footnote as the greater story is Huge's evolution. A poignant and often humorous tale about finding your place in the world.

BOTTOM LINE: Recommended. Huge is destined to one of those characters that, while sometimes unlikeable, is hard not to love.

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