The Rules of Survival

Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., Author, David Strathairn, Read by, Maria Tucci, Read by
Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., Author, David Strathairn, Read by, Maria Tucci, Read by , read by David Strathairn, Maria Tucci, Bill Irwin, Tony Roberts, Dylan Baker. Caedmon $16.99 (0p) ISBN 978-0-06-089871-7
Reviewed on: 10/09/2006
Release date: 05/01/2006
Mass Market Paperbound - 308 pages - 978-0-440-19478-1
Paperback - 352 pages - 978-0-385-33350-4
Paperback - 302 pages - 978-0-385-29127-9
Hardcover - 298 pages - 978-0-440-09440-1
Prebound-Glued - 331 pages - 978-1-4177-7008-3
Ebook - 254 pages - 978-0-307-42344-3
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Seventeen-year-old Matthew Walsh narrates this account of his tumultuous South Boston childhood with one of literature's most despicable mothers: Nikki is 34 when the book opens—pretty, reckless and dangerously manipulative. Through the course of Werlin's (Double Helix ) taut story, Matt and his sisters, Callie and Emmy, tiptoe around her mercurial behavior in a calculated effort to survive into adulthood—hiding in their rooms when she brings strange men home, saying whatever they believe she wants to hear, doing whatever they must to avoid a violent outburst. The children's father and unmarried aunt know the kids are in danger, but their fear of Nikki outweighs their willingness to act. The novel unfolds as a letter Matt is writing to Emmy as he heads off to college. He possesses the insight of a teen who has rocketed into adulthood out of necessity. If some readers find his maturity implausible, Werlin deflects attention from his nearly dispassionate recollection with short chapters and a thread of palpable tension that will easily carry readers along to the hopeful ending. Ages 12-up. (Sept.) Agent: Curtis Brown Ltd.

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