Every Boy Should Have A Man

Every Boy Should Have A Man

Book - 2013
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Nominated for the 2014 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award in Fiction!

A Chicago Tribune Noteworthy Fiction Pick for 2013

"Allen''s concise book''s power lies within its understated irony, never more heavy-handed than a preacher''s admonition that ''a world without mans is a world without us all.'' The plain narrative and relationship between boy and female man, rounded out with humor and occasional (sometimes literal) bite, promises to be a sleeper favorite among speculative audiences."
-- Publishers Weekly

"Allen...throws caution to the wind with his bizarre but exquisitely composed fable that uses transhumanism as the prism to reflect on the nature of humanity...It''s also intellectually curious and rather cutting in many of its conceptual and cultural assessments. It''s a world where man is not only pet, but also meat, where religion, wars and empires are just as backward as they are in our own world, and where worlds collide with a temperamental angst that is as uncomfortable as it is alluring. Much like Pierre Boulle''s 1963 novel Planet of the Apes , this novel is a sardonic parable on the nature and destiny of the species. A nimble fable whose bold narrative experiment is elevated by its near-biblical language and affectionate embrace of our inherent flaws."
-- Kirkus Reviews

"An imaginative and honest epic, weaving together biblical stories, fantasy, poetry, and fairy tales with a touch of realism...Allen asks us to question the assumptions, -isms, and contradictions of the modern world...Recalling the humanitarian concerns of Octavia Butler''s Fledgling and the poetry of Ovid''s Metamorphosis , this book will appeal to readers of literary fiction and fantasy."
-- Library Journal

"Imaginative, versatile, and daring Allen ( Jesus Boy , 2010) raids the realms of myth and fairy tales in this topsy-turvy speculative fable....With canny improvisations on ''Jack and the Beanstalk,'' the ''Epic of Gilgamesh,'' and Alice in Wonderland , Allen sharpens our perceptions of class divides, racism, enslavement, and abrupt and devastating climate change to create a delectably adventurous, wily, funny, and wise cautionary parable."
-- Booklist

"There''s no doubt this is an original story and one you should read."
-- Book Sp(l)ot Reviews

"From this point forward, readers consulting any reference work addressing the concept of tour de force will find there a citation of Preston L. Allen''s Every Boy Should Have a Man . It is one thing to devise a fable dealing so adroitly with such concepts as racism, war, religion, and the very nature of civilization itself, but Preston''s true triumph is the infusion of each page and every astonishing episode with palpable emotional resonance."
-- Les Standiford , author of Desperate Sons

A riveting, poignant satire of societal ills with an added dose of fantasy, Every Boy Should Have a Man takes place in a post-human world where creatures called oafs keep humanlike "mans" as beloved pets. One day, a poor boy oaf brings home a man whom he hides under his bed in the hopes his parents won''t find out.

With echoes of Margaret Atwood and Jack and the Beanstalk , Jonathan Swift''s Gulliver''s Travels and Octavia Butler''s Kindred , this is a picaresque journey into uncharted territory in earth, sky, and firmament.

Oafs and mans each gain insight and understanding into one another''s worlds, and the worlds that touch theirs--ultimately showing that oafs and mans alike share a common "humanity." Filled with surprising twists and turns, the novel is in part a morality tale that takes on many of today''s issues, including poverty, the environment, sexism, racism, war, and religion, all in lighthearted King James prose.
Publisher: New York, NY : Akashic Books, [2013]
Copyright Date: ©2013
ISBN: 9781617751578
Branch Call Number: FIC ALLEN P


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BeccaBB May 25, 2013

This is rather a hard book to review. Partly because it doesn't really fit into any category that I can name and partly because I'm not really sure how I felt about it. It is part fairy tale, part myth, part dystopian fiction and a few other parts too. It explores themes of slavery, cannibalism, war, environmentalism and other big issues. And it spans several generations. It does all this in a relatively short story. It does read quickly and it is interesting how it starts you in a world you don't recognize and works in pieces of a story every child knows. I do like how you are uncertain if this is the future of the human race or its past or happening right now. It is an interesting story and told in a deceptively simple tone so the impact of it kind of creeps up on you. But in a way that was also why I think I didn't connect with it very much. It is told like a fable. Names aren't used and although it follows particular characters they are more examples to make a point than they are individuals and left me with no one I could relate to. Which would have been fine in a fable of a couple of pages or so but in a novel left me feeling unconnected. A lot of the concepts and plotting are interesting but in the end it was more interesting than enjoyable to read.

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