Saturday 16 March 2019

WAGON BUDDY by Steve Stred

Wagon Buddy
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This afternoon while sorting the awesome books on my Paperwhite, I opened this one. I started reading... and finished it in one sitting.

Scott is a lonely boy with a father who abandons the family, and a mother who turns to drinking. So when a creature appears in his yard and offers to play with him, Scott can't believe he's finally got a friend. Sure, it might be a hideous rotting monster, but at least his Wagon Buddy looks out for him.

This comes in handy when the bullying starts at school. Actually, the bullying continues through much of his life, and having a powerful creature on his side comes in handy. Until the day he's arrested...

I really enjoyed this dark novella about a victim of bullying so serious it messes up his life and chases him into the future.

Essentially, Wagon Buddy is a horror story. It features a horrifying creature capable of tearing people apart. It's spooky and there's quite a bit of violence, but it's also a very sad story about a boy who can't escape the physical scars of bullying. What these awful and disgusting kids do to Scott is appalling and cruel. They don't just call him names and push him around, they actually bash and drug him. Hurt him so badly he ends up with broken bones and so much more.

The only problem is that this poor character's bullying doesn't end after his teens. It continues into his adult life, and is so terrible that I liked the bloodthirsty creature and despised the people. This says a lot about how well the story was told, because my sympathy for Scott builds and builds until I was cheering the Wagon Buddy's vengeful ways.

Scott's story is a horror tale that echoes real life. I felt so bad for him. :(

I also liked how the story unfolds during a police interrogation. This way it goes back and forward, filling in the blanks presented at the beginning and eventually connecting to reach a very satisfying end.

The only negative thing I found were a few typos and spots that could've been tightened. But I was so engrossed in the story that it didn't get in the way of my enjoyment.

If you're in the mood for an interesting and heartbreaking story with a good dose of gore, check it out!

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