Author: Gene Twaronite
Publisher: Gene Twaronite
ISBN: 978-1492118800

I could not hide from the impossible truth. My name is John Boggle, and I have written my family away. And that is all I really knew, except that somehow or other I must get them back,” John writes in Gene Twaronite’s novel, The Family That Wasn’t.

At one hundred and twenty-four pages, this paperback book has a picture of an old, worn two-story house on the front cover with several paragraphs about the book and its author on the back. Targeted toward middle aged school children, some parents should be cautioned in advance that there is the use of two swear words.

John Boggle, whose last name is actually a hyphenated blend of six different names, cannot take his eclectic family much longer as they are driving him crazy. If it wasn’t his grandmother who was eaten by rabid warthogs and his grandfather, the quahogger, it was his father who could play the accordion by smell, his mother’s father who ran a pizza/funeral parlor, his garbage collecting mother, older brother with the initial K as a middle name for Katherine, sister Venus who dresses like a flowery ghost, aunt who prays for termites or the mysterious Uncle Vinnie.

Written in first person and with pen in hand, the thirteen year old is tired of their bizarre habits and antics, so writes them away and creates his own ideal family, complete with a father who is a paid wordsmith, a mother poet and a grandparent that wants him to go to etiquette camp. When he tells the newly acquired kinfolk he wants to become a writer, they turn the tables on him and he runs away, desperate to find his erased relatives.

On his quest from Providence, Rhode Island to the West Coast and back, the young boy zigzags back and forth, looking, hearing and smelling for signs leading to his lost relations. Told to believe enough to make them real again, he re-evaluates how he feels about each as he offers delicious doughnuts to additional quirky newcomers as they travel back home.

When he awakens back at his cozy writing room in the corner of the dusty attic, he ponders how each family member, including him, is special in his or her way and how he accepts them for what they are.

With silliness and irony, the fictional young author shows the reader how family should be cherished and never written out of ones lives. In spite of  minor swearing, Twaronite does a good job teaching to appreciate the family we are given.

This book was furnished by the author in lieu of an unbiased review.

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