Thursday 7 December 2017

Slider - Pete Hautman

Pete Hautman

Candlewick Press
ISBN 9780763690700

Pete Hautman has about 40 books out either as author or contributor. A few of them have hit my radar, but until this one I had not taken the plunge and read one. That will definitely change since reading this book. I have already added two of his other books into my reading pile, that currently sits at 166 titles. I picked up this book based on a recommendation from author Barry Lyga.

This is the story of David a young man who made a mistake and is trying to find a way to fix it. He was bidding on an online auction and added an extra space before the decimal space. Now he is trying to find a way to make the money before his parents find out about his mistake. In this book, competitive eating, family life, and a brother on the autism spectrum collide. David is trying to fix a wrong. But is trying to do so on his own.

David's only real skill and quick way to make money is to enter and win the Super Pigorino Bowl, the world's greatest pizza-eating contest. To do so he enlists the help of two friends as sponsors, loaning him money so he can go into training mode. But he also needs to spend time looking after his brother Mal. Mal is on the autism spectrum, and because of David's need to train, we start seeing some changes in Mal as he accompanies David to the pizza shop in town. And David is learning about the consequences of his actions.

This story does have a lot of humor in it. And is very entertaining. And yet it goes much deeper than the story of a kid trying to eat his way out of trouble. I was surprised a number of times while reading the story. Watching David grow and mature through the book was well written. David as a middle child who feels ignored, because of a brilliant older sister and a special needs younger brother. Watching his friendship with his two best friends Cyn and HeyMan, who are developing a relationship of their own. Made it a wonderful read.

As the oldest of three siblings, and the father of three children, this book helped me see birth order dynamics in a new light. Hautman has captured the family dynamic wonderfully and written a very entertaining novel in the process.  I am glad I read the book and look forward to reading more by Hautman.

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