Sanders, Scott Loring. The hanging woods.

Author:Marler, Myrna
Position:Young adult review - Brief article - Book review

SANDERS, Scott Loring. The hanging woods. Houghton Mifflin. 325p. c2008. 978-0-618-88125-3. $16.00. S

Why do people crane their necks and slow down to get a better look when they pass a grisly motor accident? According to Walter, the protagonist/narrator of this book, it's because they all secretly want to see something violent and horrible. It's a good question to ask and Walter's conclusion is not necessarily the right answer, which could make for interesting classroom debate. This book is not pleasant escape reading. It might be subtitled The Making of a Serial Killer. Walter is about 13 years old and part of an uneasy triumvirate of shifting alliances in a band of three not-very-likable boys, each with not-very-capable or nice parents, in a not-very-pleasant small town in the South. It begins with Walter killing a fox he has trapped and finding it oddly satisfying. Then, the narrative seems to enter Tom Sawyer-land, but there's no comedy. Walter, while he suffers from an unhappy home life, is weak and...

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