Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Ancrum, K. The Wicker King.

Ancrum, K.  The Wicker King. Macmillan/Imprint  2017  305p.            $17.99  ISBN 978-1-250-10154-9  hs            Conflict        E           

Jack and August have been friends forever.  Despite their different social circles, they are both neglected and they depend upon each other for love, support, and guidance. Jack is a star athlete and pretty boy.  August is a drug-dealing pyromaniac.  When Jack starts to hallucinate and becomes increasingly drawn into a fantasy world in which he is the Wicker King, August joins in the fantasy, convinced he can control Jacks descent into madness.  When the boys are arrested for arson, August convinces his attorney to claim insanity so that he can follow Jack to an asylum.  Through counseling and medical intervention, the boys are released and forge a new future together. 

The book itself mimics Jacks increasing instability -- initially the story is printed on white paper, and then the pages proceed from gray through black before returning to white again.  The fantasy story within the story is jarring and frightening, but it helps to illuminate the emotional breakdown that Jack experiences.                           

Summary: A dark tale of mental illness and co-dependency between best friends Jack and August. 

Mental Illness-Fiction                                             --Lisa Teixeira

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