October. Bradbury Season. Halloween has always been my favorite holiday; I think it's the idea that there's more than meets the eye. More to whatever shell you're looking at. You're hidden behind makeup and costuming, and yet, maybe revealing a bit more than usual. A different side. A different way of looking at things. And THAT is scary - since there's nothing humans fear more than DIFFERENT.
And the Rumbaughs are definitely different.
Jack Gantos, author of the popular and funny Joey Pigza and Rotten Ralph books, as well as the notable Printz & Sibert Honor biography Hole in My Life, created a bit of a stir upon the publication of The Love Curse of the Rumbaughs last year. I hadn't read it but I'd wanted to, so when Colleen mentioned Bradbury Season for books that feel like October, well, I thought I'd finally see what all the fuss was about. It's WEIRD. Really, really weird.
First, a taste:
"An Introduction: I expect you might think the story I am about to tell you is untrue or perversely gothic in some unhealthy way" p 3.
Um, yeah, but I didn't know it then.
Chapter heading: "Squirrels are my favorite" p 113
"It is not perfection that captures the heart, but honesty" p 114.
I can get behind that.
"Hide the truth of who you are and you'll live a fiction" p 144.
And then there's this whole discussion about free will - the crux of the matter. The creepy, creepy crux. See, the Love Curse of these Rumbaughs is that they love their mothers too much. So much that they take up taxidermy in order to preserve their dead bodies as giant dolls upon their deaths. No, I'm not kidding you. It's all about whether Ivy, the last of the Rumbaughs, has inherited this curse, whether one can choose one's fate or if choice is just an illusion.
We watch Ivy grow and battle with these issues, her possibly unhealthy attachment to her mother, and her extreme fear toward the idea of her mother's death. Control fate? Or let it control you?
The kinda amazing thing? At some point, as a reader, I crossed the line. I stopped being completely revolted and became amused. Interested even. Intrigued. And THAT is what this is all about. Crossing that line from the fear of the unknown, the different, and finding yourself on the other side. Without fear (Comfort is another thing entirely).
For More Bradbury Season, head on over to Colleen's post on Chasing Ray. You'll find a list of the usual suspects.