Tuesday, June 17, 2014

[Review: The Savages by Matt Whyman]

"The Savages"
Author: Matt Whyman
Series: None
Pages: 288
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Horror
Date Published: March 6th, 2014
Publisher: Overlook Juvenile
Format Read: Borrowed from Rachael at Beauty and the Bookshelf


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.

My Thoughts:

An Open Letter To The Savages,

Book, I just don't know how I feel about you. On one hand I thought you were clever and different and on the other you seemed to be agenda shoving everything down your reader's throat. You didn't really commit to the gore or horror of your topic and instead tried to paint the picture of a normal family who... eats people. I feel both pleased and disappointed in you at the same time. It's a weird place to be in, almost as weird as being in your pages, and that book, is something to comment on.

-The White Unicorn

I knew that The Savages was going to be a different kind of read when I went into it, but I don't think I knew just how different. Whyman has written a book about a family of cannibals and he gives us a front row seat to all of the weirdness that entails. Let me tell you, this book is one of strangest things that I've ever read.

Take the subject matter. A well off family in London who just happens to eat people for dinner when they feel like it. It means that every single chapter talks about food and how the family does what they do. I don't think I've ever read a book so centered around food before that didn't make me hungry. I have to admit that at times the dark humor that fills the pages made me snicker, but it sure as hell didn't make me want to eat a Snickers. 

The writing style in this one was also really unique. Whyman doesn't give us a first person account of the happenings surrounding The Savages, instead he tells the story from above, giving us a voice that doesn't belong to any one character and showing us details through everyone's eyes. Even though this book is coined as YA, I felt that Whyman's writing style is very mature. And since he focuses on Angelica and Titus as much as he focuses on Sasha and Ivan, it gives it a feel that isn't so YA. Whyman does what he does really well, but I'm curious about how a teen would like his style. I also have to admit that even though I think he weaves the story well, his style is not a personal favorite of mine.

The book is also focused on food. Meat eating, vegetarians and vegans. Though I understand why Whyman used the points he made to tell his story, I found that some of the points made got on my nerves and felt very preachy. But then again, to each his own and parts of this book and it's topics that I found fault with might make it a favorite for someone else.

I did find some of the characters really interesting, but since we were hopping around from head to head in the narrative, I never felt like I really got to know any of them, except for what they created as a whole.

In the end, this one was a strange one for me. I'd say take it with a grain of salt, but don't look away if it seems interesting to you. 

3 Unicorns = I liked it but it had it's issues!


Nina said...

OMG! Never heard of this book before. Why? It sounds seriously so different from all the other YA books out there. Def. need to read this one. :)

Nicole said...

Hah yeah I don't think this book is for me. Cannibals? Some preaching. Not to mention, I don't do horror, even if this one didn't end up being all that scarey.