RELEASE DAY REVIEW: Hug Chickenpenny: The Panegyric of an Anomalous Child by S. Craig Zahler
Hug Chickenpenny: The Panegyric of an Anomalous Child
by S. Craig Zahler
Fantasy/Coming of Age Fiction
Hug Chickenpenny is an anomalous child. Born from tragedy and unknown paternity, this asymmetrical and white-haired baby inspires both ire and pity at the orphanage, until the day that an elderly eccentric adopts him as a pet. The upbeat boy’s spirit is challenged in his new home and as he is exposed to prejudiced members of society in various encounters. Will Hug and his astronautical dreams survive our cruel and judgmental world?
4 out of 5 FLEURS DE LIS
This was a very quick read, because I couldn’t put it down once I started. The circumstances of Hug’s birth and parentage are mysterious to say the least, and his life is filled with people who don’t understand him. Born to a mother who died upon birthing him, Hug (as he is so named in his orphanage home) is small, malformed, and just plain different. There are some in his life that want the best for him, though, and Hug’s story is told through these stages of his life where people cared for him.
Hug Chickenpenny is a boy who knows he’s different, but doesn’t ask why. He takes his lot in life and does the best he can with it. He’s smart, kind, and always tries to see the best in people, even when these people don’t see what’s good in him.
I loved it best when Hug was able to interact with children his own age; he is not only different from these kids physically, but he is mentally and emotionally more mature and it’s interesting to see how his presence affects others. Children, of course, are the most adaptable when finding something abnormal, and Hug can see himself through these children’s eyes and realize why he might make others react the way they do.
The story is short, and doesn’t give much in the way of background, so you have to be OK with this if you want to enjoy this tale. Hug Chickenpenny is a boy full of heart and wild imagination, and experiencing his story filled me with joy and sorrow both.
About the Author
S. Craig Zahler is an award-winning screenwriter, director, novelist, cinematographer, and musician. He wrote and directed the films Bone Tomahawk and Brawl in Cell Block 99, and is the author of several novels, including Wraiths of the Broken Land, A Congregation of Jackals, and Mean Business on North Ganson Street.
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