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THE TALL TALE OF TOMMY TWICE captures the unmoored feelings of young adulthood and the complexities of American identity. It's a dazzling novel about the ineffability of childhood and the nature of family and relationships in the increasingly rootless American experience.
Posted January 25, 2013
I have very mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, it was well written, imaginative, thought provoking, and more than a little crazy. On the other hand, it was not a kid's book, even though it is classified as one. It contains language, violence, and sexual situations (non-explicit). It is an adult book about a child.
Tommy is passed from relative to relative, each one unique in their craziness. They are passionate, violent, dysfunctional, angry, bitter, sweet, stoic, silent, and the list goes on. Tommy learns different things from his experiences with each relative and their families. He even spends some time with a mother figure that has no relation to him.
The story was written in a matter of fact way, that made me wonder if Tommy had any personality at all or if he was just content to float along and do what he was told. He didn't really seem to have strong emotions about anything. If he was told to listen, he did. If he was told to clean, to shovel, to learn, to fight, to eat, to sleep...he did.
In some ways, I absolutely loved the crazy story of this little boy and my heart went out to him. He never had a home with parents that loved him, but was passed around from relative to relative until there was nobody left to take care of him. In other ways, the book irked me beyond belief. So I'm going right down the middle on this one and giving it three stars.