The Charlatan's Boy by Jonathan Rogers is a fantasy novel about a symapthetic orphan boy who makes his living performing in traveling side shows with a profiteer, named Floyd. As the only family he has ever known, Grady feels obligated to perform for Floyd in an unhealthy co-dependant relationship, bound by Floyd's greed for money, and Grady's desire for acceptance and companionship. Even though Grady seems to be dependent on his benefactor, Floyd, for his daily needs, it is apparent that throughout the novel, that Floyd, is dependent upon Grady's common sense, wisdom, ingenuity and hard working ethic for survivial. The so called parent-child role is reversed in the sense that Grady is ultimately responsible for their livelihood and survival. Nevertheless, Floyd wields the emotional control and power over the younger boy who is emotionally captive to Flord. The irony is that despite the fact the Grady is considered to be an uncouth, uncivilized and uneducated boy, he apparently has more empathy, more sincerity and more common sense wisdom than any of the other so- civilized, honest and educated village characters he crosses paths with. Despite his harsh, unkept and grotesque appearance, Grady is a young man who hides in his heart, sincerity, hope and selfless- empathy for his fellow man. In the end, he "lose(s) one life and gets a new one, to get the meanest betrayal and sweetest loyalty all in one day? I was the one crying...now" pge 302 he discovers who he really is, "A last name. I got a last name." Page 302 and untimately finds the family he has truly wished for all his life.
With authentic details, of an era long past- complete with small villages, mining towns, markets, and side shows, duplicating even the details of the local dialect, the reader is transported back in time, in this fantasy that stands up to classic story tellers. As a blogger for Water Brook press, I recieved this book for the purpose of writing a review.