The Savages

The Savages

4.6 3
by Matt Whyman
     
 

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The Savage family is close-knit, but everyone has something to hide—from father Titus’s shady business dealings, to mother Angelica’s dangerously compulsive shopping habits, to 12-year-old Ivan’s increasingly lethal pranks.

But teenager Sasha’s secret trumps them all: she is dating a vegetarian. This trait will never fly with the

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Overview

The Savage family is close-knit, but everyone has something to hide—from father Titus’s shady business dealings, to mother Angelica’s dangerously compulsive shopping habits, to 12-year-old Ivan’s increasingly lethal pranks.

But teenager Sasha’s secret trumps them all: she is dating a vegetarian. This trait will never fly with the rest of the Savages, who are…uniquely carnivorous.

Problems start to pile up. Sasha’s boyfriend convinces her to try going vegetarian for a month, but then leaves her for a vegan vigilante. Angelica attempts to pay her mounting credit card bill by allowing commercials to film in the family home, until one of Ivan’s pranks leaves a model dead in their bathroom. A detective hired to investigate Titus’s predatory business affairs notices the model’s disappearance, and starts to think that there may be something more sinister to the perfect-seeming Savages.

He’s right, of course—they’re cannibals.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
01/20/2014
Happy families are all alike—except, perhaps, the one in Whyman’s (the Carl Hobbes books) wickedly funny and mildly disturbing novel. Aside from their secret appetite for human flesh—a tradition dating back to Grandpa Oleg’s gobbling up a neighbor during the siege of Leningrad in WWII—the Savage family suffers from fairly normal stresses. Mrs. Savage struggles to get her spending under control while 15-year-old Sasha contemplates vegetarianism, to the shock of her parents and the delight of her new soon-to-be-vegan boyfriend. When a schlubby private investigator starts digging too closely into Mr. Savage’s business dealings and the apparent suicide of a model last seen alive at the Savage home, there’s no telling what, er, juicy truths might be revealed. Whyman’s taste for the bizarre is grislier than most, and a gruesome finale is particularly unsettling. But it’s his choice phrasing (the family’s victims are “free range”) and spot-on comedic delivery, seen especially in 12-year-old Ivan’s pointed practical jokes, that make the book so digestible. Ages 9–up. (Apr.)
From the Publisher
"Wickedly funny and mildly disturbing…Whyman's taste for the bizarre is grislier than most, and a gruesome finale is particularly unsettling. But it's his choice phrasing (the family's victims are "free range") and spot-on comedic delivery, seen especially in 12-year-old Ivan's pointed practical jokes, that make the book so digestible." —Publishers Weekly

"I devoured (there's no other way to put it) The Savages. And they were delicious! Seriously. I absolutely loved the book. It was funny and fascinating, occasionally repulsive, and beautifully written. Also quite thought-provoking, since I have an uneasy relationship with meat-eating, yet can't quite commit to vegetarianism. What I especially loved is how caring and tender the Savage family was. I'll be on the lookout for more of Matt Whyman's writing from here on in. I'm a fan!" —Ellen Potter, author of The Kneebone Boy

School Library Journal
06/01/2014
Gr 9 Up—The Savages—Titus, Angelica, 15-year-old Sasha, 12-year-old Ivan, toddler Kat, and grandpa Oleg—are a close-knit family, bound together by their secret penchant for eating human flesh. The plot is composed of several disparate elements, including a woman whom psychopath Ivan has accidentally killed, a private detective who is hoping to find proof of Titus's shady business dealings, and Sasha's new boyfriend, who has persuaded her to try vegetarianism for a month, to her family's disgust. Lest you think that this novel will pull its punches, a main character does indeed get killed, carved up and eaten, which might make for a savory black comedy if this novel were at all funny. Instead, it never finds the right tone, alternating creepy scenes of young Ivan playing sadistic practical jokes with banter between Sasha and her friends about her make-out session with her boyfriend—"Did you get to see his cucumber?" The diction is awkward as well, with an unappealing stiltedness. The characters never come fully alive, though quite a bit of effort is made to introduce each family member to readers. And finally, the jacket art, while quite effective, is more likely to attract younger readers than the discussion of cucumbers and jokes about a suspected pedophile "wanting" Ivan make advisable. Throw this half-cooked novel back in the pot.—Eva Mitnick, Los Angeles Public Library
Kirkus Reviews
2013-12-18
Dinner with the Savages can be murder. Sixteen-year-old Sasha Savage has a new boyfriend. Jack is a year ahead of her in school, but that's not what causes a family controversy: He's a vegetarian, and the Savages are…well, they're cannibals. Ever since Grandpa was in the siege of Leningrad, the family has ritualistically, on occasion, feasted on human flesh, but they are always respectful to the source and waste as little as possible. Sasha's father, Titus, was born and raised in England. He's a predatory businessman; he orchestrates hostile takeovers of companies. It's this practice that has private detective Vernon English tailing Titus. Then a model fatally falls prey to a prank directed at Sasha by her younger brother, Ivan. Vernon doesn't know the specifics behind her disappearance, but he's sure something more than illegal business deals is going on. Can Sasha introduce her controversial boyfriend to the family, and can they all keep Vernon from finding out the family's culinary peculiarity? Making fun of foodies and vegetarians alike, this is neither a laugh riot nor a page-turning thriller, but readers seeking a little grisly diversion may be entertained. Whyman's British Addams Family of man-eaters certainly won't be to everyone's taste, but for those who like their humor very, very dry, it may just hit the spot. (Fiction. 13 & up)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781468309836
Publisher:
The Overlook Press
Publication date:
03/06/2014
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
288
Sales rank:
422,721
File size:
1 MB
Age Range:
13 - 18 Years

Read an Excerpt

This wasn't something Lulabelle enjoyed. There was some satisfaction to be had from the way it preserved her figure, despite the stomach cramps, but the procedure itself she found to be a bore. She knew just how to trigger the required response, which she prepared to do having knelt in front of the toilet bowl and lifted the lid. Inserting two fingers into her mouth, Lulabelle reached back for her tonsils and prepared for the involuntary gag reflex that would follow. It was over in moments, as she had predicted. With her partially digested lunch now floating in the toilet, and her eyes watering from the exertion, Lulabelle grabbed some paper to wipe her mouth and then reached up for the flush. It was good to do this quickly. It minimised any odour. Wishing fortune would look kindly upon her just once in what was left of her career, Lulabelle pulled the handle down. She would've been unaware that one end of a long length of cotton thread was tied to it. She may have heard a clatter as the iron was jerked from its moorings on the shelf above the door behind her, but it happened too quickly for her to react. With the flex tied to the light fitting overhead, the iron simply swooped across the room before the sharp end penetrated the back of her skull. Such was the impact that Lulabelle Hart was dead before her face dropped into the gurgling water.

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"I devoured (there's no other way to put it) The Savages. And they were delicious! Seriously. I absolutely loved the book. It was funny and fascinating, occasionally repulsive, and beautifully written. Also quite thought-provoking, since I have an uneasy relationship with meat-eating, yet can't quite commit to vegetarianism. What I especially loved is how caring and tender the Savage family was. I'll be on the lookout for more of Matt Whyman's writing from here on in. I'm a fan!" —Ellen Potter, author of The Kneebone Boy

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