Pub. Date: August 24, 2010
Synopsis: The Family That Wasn't is a humorous fable of how our families live inside us. It will appeal to both teen and adult readers. The 13-year-old narrator, John Boggle (whose real name is John Bazukas-O'Reilly-Geronimo-Giovanni-Li Choy-Echeverria), finds his family so impossibly crazy that he cannot stand living with them another moment. He invents a new perfect family so convincing that he suddenly finds himself living inside this imaginary world.
But John finds that he too has changed. He sees his too perfect image in the mirror and begins to wonder if it is all some kind of mistake. Only trouble is, now he can't remember who he is. He only knows that he must leave this family at once. His sole clue is the name, John Boggle.
To find his true family he embarks on a cross country quest. Along the way he encounters other characters who have also lost touch with their families. Together they must find a way to reconstruct the connections to bring back the family that once was.
"The Family That Wasn't" was entertaining and only took me a couple hours to finish. When I heard the plot of the book, I knew it would be interesting and the book delivered. Even though the book started off a bit slow, there was a lot of character development for John's family, the rest of the book sped by. Usually I am not one for added length to books, but I actually wish there was more of "The Family That Wasn't". I think the book would have been better if there had been more time spent with John on his cross-country quest. I also wish there had been a bit more conflict, things just went a little too easily for John on his quest. There were some set backs, but I wish there had been more of a climax.
I liked how John changed when his family changed. It really showed how interlocked ones identity is with their relationship with their family. We'd like to think that our lives aren't shaped by our family, but that would be a lie. John's family wasn't all together terrible, excluding one person, but it was definitely understandable why he would want a new one. I'm sure many kids have felt that they would like a new family at one point in their lives- this book is something that they can relate to. I know I used to think about how my life would be different if I had a different family and now that I am older, I know that a different family could not love me more. This book does a great job of showing readers why having the "perfect" family is not necessarily better than having the slightly crazy family you were born with.
Overall, this book was a fun, quick read. I would recommend it to anyone who has thought about replacing his or her family or who just thinks that this sounds like an interesting plot. It kind of reminded me a bit of Coraline, but not nearly as creepy.
*I did receive a copy of this book for review.