Under the Wolf, Under the Dog

Under the Wolf, Under the Dog

4.4 7
by Adam Rapp
     
 

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Alternately heartbreaking and starkly humorous, this teenager's brutal story of escape and desire for redemption is masterfully told by award-winning writer and film director Adam Rapp.

I'm what they call a Gray Grouper. The Red Groupers are the junkies and the Blue Groupers are the suicide kids.

Steve Nugent is in a facility called Burnstone Grove. It's a

Overview

Alternately heartbreaking and starkly humorous, this teenager's brutal story of escape and desire for redemption is masterfully told by award-winning writer and film director Adam Rapp.

I'm what they call a Gray Grouper. The Red Groupers are the junkies and the Blue Groupers are the suicide kids.

Steve Nugent is in a facility called Burnstone Grove. It's a place for kids who are addicts, like Shannon Lynch, who can stick $1.87 in change up his nose, or for kids who have tried to commit suicide, like Silent Starla, whom Steve is getting a crush on. But Steve doesn't really fit in either group. He used to go to a gifted school. So why is he being held at Burnstone Grove? Keeping a journal, in which he recalls his confused and violent past, Steve is left to figure out who he is by examining who he was.

Editorial Reviews

KLIATT - Paula Rohrlick
To quote the review of the hardcover in KLIATT, September 2004: Steve is in a resident treatment facility for junkies and suicidal teens, and in order to figure out how he ended up there he keeps a journal, looking back at his life so far. And what a grim life it has been—his mother died of cancer a few months ago; his drugged-out older brother, a former basketball star sidelined by sciatica, committed suicide recently; and his father is almost catatonic with depression. "Grief does strange things to all of us," one character notes, and Steve, in trying to cope with his losses, goes off the deep end. He kicks in TV sets at his father's electronics shop, and gets so wasted on cough syrup he ends up blinding himself in one eye. He runs off with June, a young girl he meets, and then abandons her on a bus. The end holds out some hope, however, as Steve acquires a girlfriend and starts to come to terms with his past. As with Rapp's recent 33 Snowfish, this is a gritty, wrenching, and convincing tale about a teen in crisis, and the anguish Steve experiences comes across clearly. Black humor and memorable images abound, and there are echoes of Holden Caulfield, too. A disturbing but memorable read for mature teens. (An ALA Best Book for YAs.)
Children's Literature
Sixteen-year-old Steve Nugent resides in the Burnstone Grove treatment facility for suicidal and drug-addicted teens. He opts to write down his experiences in a biographical journal rather than verbally participating in a group. Steve's life has been anything but uneventful for the past year, and coming to terms with so many life-altering experiences has left him a wreck, both mentally and physically—including the loss of vision in one eye from self-mutilation. After the death of his mother, his father is barely able to function on a human level, and when Steve's drug-plagued older brother hangs himself Steve loses what little piece of sanity he has left, leaving his only friend, ten-year-old June, on a bus alone hundreds of miles from home. Yet, somehow the author manages to make the bleak situation humorous at times by weaving in sarcastically-accurate descriptions of people's genitalia and bodily functions. Within the walls of the facility Steve begins to interact with his fellow residents, comes to terms with his new world, and even manages to begin a relationship. This in-depth look into the troubled life of an on-the-brink-of-insanity teen pulls the reader in via vivid accounts of a year-long struggle with love, sexuality, addiction, family, friendship, and death, showing mature teens inner-turmoil recorded for the world to observe. 2004, Candlewick Press, Ages 16 up.
—Kori L. Mullins
KLIATT
Steve is in a resident treatment facility for junkies and suicidal teens, and in order to figure out how he ended up there he keeps a journal, looking back at his life so far. And what a grim life it has been—his mother died of cancer a few months ago; his drugged-out older brother, a former basketball star sidelined by sciatica, committed suicide recently; and his father is almost catatonic with depression. "Grief does strange things to all of us," one character notes, and Steve, in trying to cope with his losses, goes off the deep end. He kicks in TV sets at his father's electronics shop, and gets so wasted on cough syrup he ends up blinding himself in one eye. He runs off with June, a young girl he meets, and then abandons her on a bus. The end holds out some hope, however, as Steve acquires a girlfriend and starts to come to terms with his past. As with Rapp's recent 33 Snowfish, this is a gritty, wrenching, and convincing tale about a teen in crisis, and the anguish Steve experiences comes across clearly. Black humor and memorable images abound, and there are echoes of Holden Caulfield, too. A disturbing but memorable read for mature teens. KLIATT Codes: SA—Recommended for senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2004, Candlewick, 320p., Ages 15 to adult.
—Paula Rohrlick
School Library Journal
Gr 10 Up-Sixteen-year-old Steve Nugent recounts the events that brought him to Burnstone Grove, a therapeutic facility for teens with substance abuse issues and/or suicidal tendencies. Intellectually bright, emotionally immature, and only moderately adept socially, Steve is coping with his mother's death, his older brother's suicide, his father's depression, and his own erratic behavior. With customary fluency when dredging these psychosocial swamps, Rapp creates a likable character leading an existence so grim that his crimes seem understandable. Steve has a better sense of humor than the antiheroes of Rapp's Little Chicago (Front St., 2002) and 33 Snowfish (Candlewick, 2003), perhaps because his life went awry a bit later than theirs. Steve is credible both as the awkward and intoxicated teen who doesn't deal appropriately with the brush off he gets from a popular girl and as the understanding friend who remains open-minded upon learning that a boy he admires is both gay and manipulative. The author explicitly describes the violence his protagonist experiences: when Steve finds his brother's body, there is an anatomically detailed description of how strangulation looks. However, while Steve's prehospitalization life clearly was spiraling out of control, he now seems to be truly on the mend, and the story's denouement finds him on the verge of reestablishing contact with his father. Rapp offers teens well-constructed peepholes into harsh circumstances, with a bit of hope tinting the view.-Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley Public Library, CA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Like so many teen protagonists, Steve Nugent is struggling with his mother's death from cancer. His journal looks back on that death and, shortly thereafter, his brother's suicide. Now living at a center for troubled teens, the 16-year-old occasionally focuses on his life there, like the scene where he gratefully loses his virginity, but he mainly describes in painful, if well-crafted, detail his bleak earlier existence, which he perceives as a grungy world smelling like vomit and urine, full of people with bad teeth and bad breath. In a deteriorating mental state, Steve himself urinates in public, in his pants, and on his father's bed; drops acid; and befriends a ten-year-old girl, smoking cigarettes with her and abandoning her on a cross-country bus ride. A certain grim humor sometimes relieves the heavy narrative, which does end with a gleam of hope for readers who have stuck with the long, disturbing story. (Fiction. YA)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780763618186
Publisher:
Candlewick Press
Publication date:
09/13/2004
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
1,273,266
Product dimensions:
5.12(w) x 7.75(h) x 1.12(d)
Lexile:
850L (what's this?)
Age Range:
14 Years

Read an Excerpt

How to start?

Okay. Here it goes.

Mrs. Leene said I should begin by describing myself.

So, my name is Steve Nugent. I'm sixteen. I'll be seventeen next November. It's the middle of December, and the trees around here are caked in ice and sort of silvery in that creepy, wintry way, so right now seventeen seems like a hundred years off.

Where I'm from, they call me White Steve because I'm so pale. The ones who call me that are pale too, but not as pale as me. I'm like soap or paper. I'm like Easter candy. I'm like glue or piano keys. If I stay in the sun too long, I turn pink; not red — pink, like Spam.

In terms of size, I'm six foot three and about 160 pounds, which is way too skinny, I know. I can't help that right now. The doctors say I will fill out in a few years. At this point I would describe myself as being a pretty high-percentage dodge-ball target.

I guess my hair is brown, but there might be some red in it, which makes me worry about my future pubic situation, as in when I finally get some upholstery down low, what color it will be.

That might be too much information.

Sorry.

I'm also blind in my right eye, which I will tell you more about later.

_______

UNDER THE WOLF, UNDER THE DOG by Adam Rapp. Copyright © 2007 by Adam Rapp. Published by Candlewick Press, Inc., Cambridge, MA.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Meet the Author

Adam Rapp is the acclaimed author of five previous novels for young adults, including, most recently, 33 SNOWFISH, which was named a Best Book for Young Adults (Top Ten Pick) by the American Library Association. In addition he is an accomplished playwright whose plays have been produced by the New York Theatre Workshop, the Bush Theatre in London, and the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Adam Rapp is also the author and director of WINTER PASSING, a movie starring Ed Harris and Will Farrell.

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Under the Wolf, Under the Dog 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Bill_Kaulitz More than 1 year ago
This book is twisted and grisly, unapologetically so, and I loved it. It shows a series of events happening to this poor kid, and how he deals with it. There are very interesting and morbid thought patterns and behavior in here.... but before we judge and condemn Steve for them, look at all he was going through. It's expected for him to lose his mind a little. This book was hilarious, dark, meaningful, saddening, and uplifting all at once. It's one of those books I'll always remember
IvoryOwl More than 1 year ago
This book is amazing, in my opinion. The distorded part of my personality gets a real twisted kick from reading this novel. There are people in this world who have gone through rough times. And as rough as these times get, they float over the stormy water, that is their life, in a "zombiefied" way, if you will. This is Steven. And as the reader, you know there has to be something more to him. You know that the things he does, thinks, and writes about all has this underlining untended-to emotion and... simply, something I'm sure could be related to. At least something I related to. His story is tragic, quirky, and morbidly interesting.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book in one day. It's Steven Nugent's story of how he came to end up in this place for suicidals and druggies, which he isn't really either of. His story makes you depressed and want to cry. And it also makes you laugh your butt off. But then it will make you sympathetic and shocked. By the end of the book you will have gone through every emotion you could possibly think of. I absolutely loved this book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is real intresting for people that could understand it.For mature audiences only.It is intresting how he is only bsixteen and alredy smokes.I would reccomend this book to anyone that wants to learn about other people with stress.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is a great book about a teenage boy named Steve who experiences many ups and downs in his life. His life is full of struggles that your every day teen would have no idea how to handle. Steve tells his brutal story through this novel as a form of therapy in which he hopes to find the answers to his life. I really enjoyed this novel and it really kept me interested. I highly recommend this book to teens who really want to know what a rough life feels like.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A teenage boy named Steve goes through many experiences that shape the person he becomes. Due to the death of both his mother and brother, He and his father start going a little crazy. Steve ends up in a facility for troubled teens and begins writing this novel as a form of therapy to understand why he is the way he is. In my opinion, this novel is very intense and you won't be able to put it down. It's one of those stories that you NEED to find out what happens next. I would recommend this novel to all teens and anyone who likes to feel connected to the character, anyone that likes seeing the world from a different perspective.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was a really good book, only recommended for those a little older and mature, those not freaked out by weird thoughts.