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Scowler by Daniel Kraus
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Scowler

by Daniel Kraus

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12011100,400 (3.58)3
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    Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott (feeling.is.first)
    feeling.is.first: young adult horror, child abuse
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I will admit to feeling a sinking feeling of dread when I noticed the small appended note under the author's name: "Daniel Kraus, author of Rotters." Rotters earned the dubious distinction as being one of two books that I absolutely could not finish. I made it 250 pages in before the repetitiveness, gross-out horror, and sheer tedium of the writing made me abandon it to the "never to be read" pile.

However, the summary made this one seem intriguing, and I decided to give Kraus another shot.

Scowler tells the story of Ry, a young farm boy who grew up with an extremely abusive father, Marvin. The trauma of the abuse left him with three imaginary friends: a kind British teddy bear named Mr. Furrington, a Gumby-like Jesus Christ who dispenses words of wisdom and forgiveness, and a grotesque handmade figurine named Scowler.

When his father returns on the same day as a meteorite strike, Ry's old friends come back - including bloodthirsty Scowler.

First thing, this is not a tense, biting-your-nails type of horror. There are some parts that come close, but Kraus relies more on gross-out horror. I consider myself pretty hard to shock, but even I recoiled when the full extent of Marvin's abuse is revealed.

The meteorite angle of the story never full coalesced for me, and seemed more fantastic than was needed to keep the story grounded. Even the Scowler moments weren't as horrifying as what Marvin did to his wife - the unrealistic ended up detracting from the horror more than adding to it. It also was a tad bit confusing what was real and what wasn't - and not in a good way.

As a whole, it wasn't bad. It had some provoking moments, and Marvin's refrain of "hmmm hm hm hmmm" became a genuinely frightening motif. For a truly scary book, however, the ending just seemed too muddled to make it a lasting read. ( )
  kittyjay | Jul 18, 2015 |
"A Junior Library Guild selection"--Jkt. flap.
  Bookman1954 | Feb 17, 2015 |
I really did not like this book. It is very violent and hard to follow. ( )
  WarriorLibrary | Oct 31, 2014 |
It is 1981 and, through flashbacks, nineteen-year old Ry Burke tells the story of his twisted home life. His father Walter was a mean and abusive man, not allowing Ry to play with toys and beating him if the farm wasn’t run the way he liked. He regularly beat his wife, and the horror he inflicted on her when Ry was ten years old was something he’d never forgotten. Read the rest of the review on my blog: http://shouldireaditornot.wordpress.com/2014/09/14/scowler-daniel-kraus/ ( )
  ShouldIReadIt | Sep 26, 2014 |
A well written book of horror. Although the content matter is hard to stomach at times and leaves the reader with anxious energy Scowler is really a story of survival and strength. ( )
  cfranson | Mar 26, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
BLOODY DISGUSTING bloody-disgusting.com
[BEST & WORST '13] Top 10 Horror Novels of the Year!

2. Scowler, by Daniel Kraus
(March 12; Delecorte Press)

Possibly the most depraved and disturbing novel I read this year––and Scowler is a Junior Library Guild Selection. No shit. Aggressively pushing the boundaries of YA horror, Daniel Kraus’s haunting tale of child abuse is staggeringly violent, featuring grisly scenes of torture and mutilation. But Kraus’s narrative isn’t exploitative, instead adopting a stark, sober tone that forces the reader to face the grim reality of child abuse, as well as the legacy it leaves behind. We’re excited to see if Kraus’s brand of dark, morbid horror will make its way into the Trollhunters novel he’s currently co-writing with Guillermo Del Toro.
 
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385743092, Hardcover)

Imagine your father is a monster. Would that mean there are monsters inside you, too? Nineteen-year-old Ry Burke, his mother, and little sister scrape by for a living on their dying family farm. Ry wishes for anything to distract him from the grim memories of his father's physical and emotional abuse. Then a meteorite falls from the sky, bringing with it not only a fragment from another world but also the arrival of a ruthless man intent on destroying the entire family. Soon Ry is forced to defend himself by resurrecting a trio of imaginary childhood protectors: kindly Mr. Furrington, wise Jesus, and the bloodthirsty Scowler. 

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:49 -0400)

In the midst of a 1981 meteor shower in Iowa, a homicidal maniac escapes from prison and returns to the farm where his nineteen-year-old son, Ry, must summon three childhood toys--Mr. Furrington, Jesus Christ, and Scowler--to protect himself, his eleven-year-old sister, Sarah, and their mother.… (more)

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