The Love Curse of the Rumbaughsby Jack Gantos
On an unseasonably warm Easter Sunday, a young girl named Ivy discovers a chilling secret in the basement of the Rumbaugh pharmacy across the street from the hotel where she lives with her mother. The discovery reveals a disturbing side to the eccentric lives of family friends Abner and Adolph Rumbaugh, known throughout their small western Pennsylvania town simply as the Twins. It seems that Ab and Dolph have been compelled by a powerful mutual love for their deceased mother to do something extraordinary, something that in its own twisted way bridges the gap between the living and the dead. Immediately, Ivy’s discovery provokes the revelation of a Rumbaugh family curse, a curse that, as Ivy will learn over the coming years, holds a strange power over herself and her own mother.
In his third book for young adults, Jack Gantos has scripted a completely original drama. With gothic flavor and black humor, he depicts a group of people bound together by love, compulsion...and a passion for taxidermy.
Amy S. Pattee
“A totally engaging, intelligently written work . . . this one will linger in one's darkest corners.” Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review
“This offbeat novel, reflecting elements of Psycho and Faulkner's A Rose for Emily, draws readers into a macabre world where taboos are lifted and unconventional desires unleashed.” Publishers Weekly
“A shocking, darkly comic tale.” Booklist, Boxed Review
“Eerie. This thought-provoking story about free will and the arguments of nature and nurture will definitely stick with readers.” School Library Journal
“Few other books offer such a combination of stylization verging on the comic and a true fascination with the Gothic's exploration of human minds.” Chicago Tribune
“The wonderful and compelling strangeness will . . . draw many readers, especially fans of silver-screen or classic literary Gothic.” The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
“Compelling.” The Horn Book Magazine
“You know where The Love Curse of the Rumbaughs by Jack Gantos is heading, even as you can't quite believe it. . . . Possibly the most oddball children's book ever written and certainly one of the cleverest.” The Telegraph (UK)
Read an Excerpt
The Love Curse of the Rumbaughs
By Gantos, Jack
Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)Copyright © 2006 Gantos, Jack
All right reserved.
Yes, it had been surprising to discover Mrs. Rumbaugh stuffed
like a hibernating bear, and although she was spooky, she only
really terrified me because she reminded me of my mother's
mortality, and in some penetrating way I must have been
marked with the knowledge that Ab and Dolph loved their
mother as much as I loved mine and that they were driven to
preserve her in whatever form they could. In an unspoken way
I accepted what they did, and why, and it seemed right - for
them and for me. I looked up at my mother and said, "Don't
worry. Someday I'll do the same to you, too."
She blanched, and before she realized she had said it she
uttered, "Oh, my God, you have the love curse of the -" Then
she held her hand over her mouth and stepped away, but it was
too late. I had heard her, and somehow I knew I was cursed
with loving my mother too much.
"What curse?" I asked innocently.
Excerpted from The Love Curse of the Rumbaughs by Gantos, JackCopyright © 2006 by Gantos, Jack. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Meet the Author
Jack Gantos has written books for people of all ages, from picture books and middle-grade fiction to novels for young adults and adults. His works include Hole in My Life, a memoir that won the Michael L. Printz and Robert F. Sibert Honors, Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key, a National Book Award Finalist, Joey Pigza Loses Control, a Newbery Honor book, and Dead End in Norvelt, winner of the Newbery Medal and the Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction.
Jack was raised in Norvelt, Pennsylvania, and when he was seven, his family moved to Barbados. He attended British schools, where there was much emphasis on reading and writing, and teachers made learning a lot of fun. When the family moved to south Florida, he found his new classmates uninterested in their studies, and his teachers spent most of their time disciplining students. Jack retreated to an abandoned bookmobile (three flat tires and empty of books) parked out behind the sandy ball field, and read for most of the day. The seeds for Jack's writing career were planted in sixth grade, when he read his sister's diary and decided he could write better than she could. He begged his mother for a diary and began to collect anecdotes he overheard at school, mostly from standing outside the teachers' lounge and listening to their lunchtime conversations. Later, he incorporated many of these anecdotes into stories.
While in college, he and an illustrator friend, Nicole Rubel, began working on picture books. After a series of well-deserved rejections, they published their first book, Rotten Ralph, in 1976. It was a success and the beginning of Jack's career as a professional writer. Jack continued to write children's books and began to teach courses in children's book writing and children's literature. He developed the master's degree program in children's book writing at Emerson College and the Vermont College M.F.A. program for children's book writers. He now devotes his time to writing books and educational speaking. He lives with his family in Boston, Massachusetts.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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A good story. Interesting characters, and I really wanted to know what happened if the curse continues.
Really, stuffing your mother like a specimen in a taxidermist's shop so you can always keep her with you? Have we run out of things to write about? Put this one in the pile of books you use to prop up the leg of the table so it won't wobble.
I read a few books a week, so when I say it was one of the oddest things I've ever read that's saying something!
I actually picked this book up because of its cover. It looked slightly gothic...and oh boy was I right! Tinged with dark humor, an obsession for taxidermy, and a love curse, this is an exceptional read. I had to re-read some parts, just to make sure that I understood but, i would definitely reccomend it to anyone who likes slightly creepy books.
The Love Curse of the Rumbaugh¿s by Jack Gantos was one of the strangest books I have ever read. The plot consisted of strange, inseparable twins, a dead, taxidermed mother, a daughter, who was obsessed with her mother, and a love curse. This love curse ran through the Rumbaughs family. It caused the sons in the family to have an unhealthy love for their mothers. The Twins, Adolf and Ab, had this curse, and somehow, their neighbor Ivy had it also 'which we find out why towards the middle of the book'. The book started off with Ivy finding the Twins dead mother, who had been dead for years, preserved in the Twins basement. Ivy thought nothing of it. She thought it was natural for someone to love their mother enough to do that. The plot developed from here. We learned more about the Rumbaughs, the love curse, and how Ivy gained such a love for her mother. The book goes into great and accurate detail of Eugenics and genetic testing. It also has a very Alfred Hitchcock 'Psycho' like feel to it with the dead mother and the taxidermy obsession. Overall, it was such a strange read. Between reading Ivy¿s thoughts, to the descriptions of the Twins and their dead mother, I had to read some things over again to make sure I read it correctly. The ending in particular is something that¿s totally unexpected. However, as strange as it was, it¿s still a great and fun book to read. I recommend it.