Tales of the Madman Underground by John Barnes

One of the must-reads the other long-time bloggers have on their list.


It's the 1970's, in the town of Lightsburg, Ohio our protagonist is struggling to make the first day of senior year (and hopefully the rest of it) to be as normal as a normal person could live through it.

Karl Shoemaker, the son of the deceased former Lightsburg mayor, now works 5 jobs just to get by. He lives with his irresponsible drunkard mother who always seem to get away with finding his stash of money and stealing it.

It is a hard life for Karl and so is the same with the troubled kids he goes with to this special counseling sessions. They call themselves the "Madmen Underground".

It's kind of a pact, really. They may all come from different statures in high school but they all know each other's awful stories and deep down, they'll always stick for one another no matter what.

It may all seem like it always was, the loop of endless abuse Karl gets from his mother. But maybe this year, he has a choice. Maybe he has a chance to make all the bad things stop for him. Maybe he has a ticket out of the freak-people club. But does he really want out of the only thing that understands how it's really like?


I read this book on Christmas day. It may get boring but this book is full of humor. It is something for the teenagers to have a moment with. Of course, the friendship is one of the things you envy in it. This book is original and successful in making the readers experience something they may not even ever live through their own life.

It has all the recipe of a book that deserves an award. Oh wait, it has an award!

Quotes I cannot forget:
"Dip me in shit and paint me blue."
"Like a coat of paint."


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