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Parnucklian for Chocolateby B H James
Synopses & Reviews
As a small child, Josiah believed that his father’s absence could be explained by the simple fact that he was a high ranking alien official on the planet Parnuckle. It explained so much else, too, like why Josiah should eat nothing but chocolate (Parnucklians eat nothing but chocolate), and why he should be proud of and idolize his father, the Keymaster of Gozer, even though they’d never met.
But as time goes on and the gaps in this mythology widen, Josiah is faced with two possibilities: either it’s all very real or it’s all very pretend. This betrayal comes into sharper focus when, three weeks before his sixteenth birthday, Josiah is released back into his mother’s care after two years in a group home. His mother is about to marry Johnson Davis, and when Josiah, his mother, Johnson Davis, and his daughter Bree Davis—a prematurely mature girl with her own history of parental betrayal—attempt to live together as an all-American nuclear family, the myths underpinning all of their lives come chaotically and absurdly unspooled.
This startling, stylish, hilarious debut novel explores what it means to grow up an alien in your own family and your own life. It’s a story about the secret, solitary lives of kids held hostage by the caprices of their caretakers. In Parnucklian for Chocolate, B.H. James has taken the alien heart of family life and made it recognizable and relatable to all—extraterrestrial or otherwise.
"The gradual awakening of a teenager whose mom protects him with a fanciful story reveals an unnecessarily cruel world. Josiah grows up believing, as his mother tells him, that he is the product of an alien abduction from the planet Parnuckle, whose inhabitants eat chocolate, never sleep, and don't need to bathe. But when he and his mother move in with her new boyfriend, Johnson Davis, Johnson grows concerned about Josiah's abnormal development — particularly after his daughter Bree, a rebellious teenager, crawls into bed with Josiah and begins to figure in his fantasies, to the alarm of both parents. Josiah clings to the story of Parnuckle, now a place to which he and Bree plan to escape, even as his new stepfather tries to convince him that the planet isn't real. Tantalizing hints surrounding Josiah's mother's background aside, her absence as a complete character — her name is never even revealed — makes her stories that much more puzzling. Her inability to take responsibility for her son's problems tears the family apart more permanently than Josiah's bad behavior." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Parnucklian for Chocolate is a dark comedy about what it is to grow up an alien in your own family and your own life.
About the Author
B.H. James was born and raised an only child in Galt, California. He attended Catholic schools and had a dog named Pepsi. He went to Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo where he majored in Sociology, which was slightly useless as he mostly took creative writing courses. He took too long to graduate, mostly due to his preoccupation with pursuing a career in amateur rodeo. Somewhere in his late twenties, he got tired of driving to and fro throughout the country catching steers, so he took a job teaching high school English in the International Baccalaureate program in Stockton, California, finding there his two loves: teaching and his wife, Liz, a fellow English teacher. B.H. holds a Master’s of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of Nebraska. It was there that Parnucklian for Chocolate, B.H.’s first novel, began to take shape. B.H. currently lives in Lodi, California with his wife, baby boy, and their cats Rooster and Mike Tyson.
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