A hideous tale of four young souls living out an incredibly potent slice of squalor and degradation, 33 snowfish is a book so singular in tone and presentation that you will, without a doubt, never forget reading it. This book is not, I repeat, NOT for everyone. Although highly recommended, it’s definitely for the mature reader (9th grade up)-one who can handle heavy topics concerning abuse and violence (both physical and sexual) depicted in a very emotionally raw fashion. As the story haphazardly spills itself out into a depressing mess, it’s shocking to realize that it offers only a mere glimpse of what the characters have actually survived in their short lives. For most of the book, one can’t help but wonder where the hope is, where the relief might reside, and just what sort of journey the author is taking his audience on.
All of the adolescent characters are running and with good reason-Boobie killed his parents, Curl is a teenage prostitute, and Custis managed to escape his pedophilic captor. While things continually seem to get worse and worse for the troubled teens as they head out on the road to who knows where, it’s alarming to realize that they might be actually be experiencing some of the best parts of their lives together. At least they are together. At least there’s that, albeit momentary. Oh, and did I mention they’re towing a baby along as well, and that they keep it safely tucked in a hollowed out TV? Seriously.
While this tale breaks your heart and slowly hands the pieces back to you one at a time, you’ll quickly find yourself in the midst of an incredibly moving piece of work created by a terribly terrific writer. The vivid tale ultimately reminds you to keep your eye fastened to the tiniest speck of hope, even when you can’t see it. Rare. Controversial. Brilliant.