Parnucklian For Chocolate

B.H. James. Red Hen (CDC, dist.), $16.95 trade paper (266p) ISBN 978-1-59709-790-1
The gradual awakening of a teenager whose mom protects him with a fanciful story reveals an unnecessarily cruel world. Josiah grows up believing, as his mother tells him, that he is the product of an alien abduction from the planet Parnuckle, whose inhabitants eat chocolate, never sleep, and don’t need to bathe. But when he and his mother move in with her new boyfriend, Johnson Davis, Johnson grows concerned about Josiah’s abnormal development— particularly after his daughter Bree, a rebellious teenager, crawls into bed with Josiah and begins to figure in his fantasies, to the alarm of both parents. Josiah clings to the story of Parnuckle, now a place to which he and Bree plan to escape, even as his new stepfather tries to convince him that the planet isn’t real. Tantalizing hints surrounding Josiah’s mother’s background aside, her absence as a complete character—her name is never even revealed—makes her stories that much more puzzling. Her inability to take responsibility for her son’s problems tears the family apart more permanently than Josiah’s bad behavior. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/14/2013
Release date: 03/01/2013
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