Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Fitz Has a Gun, So You'd Better Run

Published:  November 13th, 2012
By:  Mike Cochrane
Knopf Books for Young Readers
ISBN-13:  9780375856839

A father, a son, and a gun. This could make for an interesting day..

Sometimes Fitz would look at himself in the mirror, an expression of pathetic eagerness on his face. He was a dog in the pound, wanting to be adopted. He'd smile. What father wouldn't want this boy?

Fifteen-year-old Fitzgerald—Fitz, to his friends—has just learned that his father, whom he's never met, who supports him but is not a part of his life, is living nearby. Fitz begins to follow him, watch him, study him, and on an otherwise ordinary May morning, he executes a plan to force his father, at gunpoint, to be with him.

Over the course of one spring day, Fitz and his father become real to one another. Fitz learns about his father, why he's chosen to remain distant and what really happened between him and Fitz's mother. And his father learns what sort of boy his son has grown up to become.


     Fitz is fifteen, living with his Mom in a rundown neighborhood.  He has never met his Dad, but that's about to change.  Today he's going to spend the day with his Dad, holding him at gunpoint, and trying to get the answers that he's always wanted.  Why didn't his Dad stay with his Mom?  Why hasn't he been in Fitz's life, other than sending child support?  This sounded like a book that is very different from my usual read.  I decided to give it a try and had mixed feelings when it was over.  On a basic level I can understand wanting the answers to those questions so badly that you'd do anything for them.  But also, I could never imagine holding someone at gunpoint, especially my estranged Father, to get them.  I felt like Fitz's thoughts, actions and feelings read as being a lot younger than fifteen.  It almost read as though he was mentally ill or had a serious disability.  I know that wasn't the case, but the fact that he seems to have absolutely zero normal range reasoning skills left me wondering.  Plus, taking his Dad to the zoo?  How old is he, five?  I just was not a fan of this particular "gritty" piece of fiction (I use quotes because I feel like it acted more gritty than it was).  I felt like the ending was a major cop-out.  Fitz spends the entire book with his Dad at gunpoint and all of a sudden, they're all playing happy families at the end, with visitation and everything.  Highly unrealistic in every sense of the word.  If you wants gritty fiction go read a book by Ellen Hopkins.  I would recommend skipping this one unless you can relate to it on some deeper level, in which case please find a good therapist!

VERDICT:  2/5  Stars

**received an Advanced Reading E-book Copy from the publisher, via NetGalley. No money or favors were exchanged for this review. This book was published November 13th, 2012.**

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