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Dogfaceby Jeff Garigliano
Jeff Garigliano's excellent and highly original debut novel is a little like an older, much darker version of Louis Sachar's Holes. Brimming with black humor and raw energy, Dogface describes the plight of Loren, an unlikely but extremely likeable fourteen-year-old hero, who's sent to Camp Ascend, a cruel and absurd "boot camp" that is truly dangerous. The adults in the book are garish and grotesque but remain believable, and the relationships between the campers are surprisingly moving. A wonderfully twisted and accurate picture of adolescence.
Synopses & Reviews
Fourteen-year-old Loren is the unlikely hero of Dogface. Loren's obsessed with all things military: Special Forces, secret missions, rules and regulations — it's all so finite and orderly. Especially compared to other parts of Loren's life. His mom, for example, keeps introducing him to a string of loser boyfriends, and each time Loren responds by dreaming up creative ways to trash the boyfriends' stuff. The latest one, a golf pro, is so irritating that Loren decides to stage a night raid and vandalize the pro's beloved golf course. When the mission goes embarrassingly awry, Loren's mom sends him to Camp Ascend, a remote facility that specializes in whipping "mixed-up" teens back into shape. Camp Ascend was founded by Ray Kellogg, a.k.a. the "Colonel," who claims a distinguished military background but is really a con man with zero military experience but a few convictions for fraud. The Colonel runs the place with his overly tanned wife (who hates being out in the woods) and her manic brother (who doesn't like kids). When Loren figures out what the camp and the Colonel are really about, he finds himself with a real-life mission: redeem himself and the other delinquents at Camp Ascend, and take the place down.
"A 14-year-old boy with an affinity for all things military makes for an extremely likable protagonist in former naval officer Garigliano's dark, wonderfully twisted debut. Habitually uprooted by his beautiful mother, Cecile, Loren despises her ever-revolving carousel of dolt boyfriends, so he revolts by torching the golf course where Cecile's latest dish, golf pro Tom, tees off. Loren gets caught, and Cecile reluctantly ships him off to Camp Ascend! — a six-week rehabilitation program for young miscreants headed by Ray Kellogg, aka the Colonel, an ex-con scam artist who charges a $7,000 fee for treatment at the ramshackle campground staffed by the Colonel's suntanned, heavily coiffed wife, Kitty, and Kitty's sadistic, malevolent brother Donovan, who likes to play drill sergeant and torture kids. Loren, clever and smitten with pretty fellow 'inmate' Liz, uses the skills of the seasoned operative to navigate and, eventually, defuse the escalating dangers at Camp Ascend! in a thrilling denouement. What initially seems like a wacky teenage romp morphs into a harrowing story about resilience, redemption and the will to survive. Garigliano excels with this sinister, superlative debut." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Dogface is dark and wickedly sly, with an irresistible young hero and a memorably warped supporting cast. Jeff Garigliano is a writer who is both funny and compelling, a rare combination." Carl Hiaasen
"Dogface, Jeff Garigliano's first novel, crawls under your skin, it drives you crazy, and then you fall in love. Garigliano gives voice to the hell that is adolescence, the struggle for power and self-determination between adults and soon-to-be adults, and in the end he transforms this twisted, thorny story into a tale of hope and resilience." A.M. Homes
About the Author
After a career in the military, Jeff Garigliano is now a magazine editor in New York City. This is his first novel.
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