Reviewed by: Pete Barber
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Approximate word count: 30-35,000 words
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Chuck Hunter lives in Northeast Ohio with his two kids. When he's not writing, he enjoys hiking, fishing, backpacking, and tending to his Wabash Irises. Pain's Joke is his first book.
Jonas Pike, a twelve year old boy born with a facial disfigurement, struggles to find his place in the world.
I had trouble staying engaged with this story. Jonas was a sympathetic character, but his stereotypical drunken loser of a step-father and his too-forgiving mother came across as rather two-dimensional to me. The story involves a disgraced preacher who acts as the catalyst that forces the resolution of the tale, but I found the ending odd, abrupt, and leaving too many unanswered questions.
Not for me, I’m sorry to say.
This is listed in YA categories on Amazon, but it does contain a rather graphic rape scene.
Rating: *** Three stars