Love can be a real monster.
Sixteen-year-old Boy’s never left home. When you’re the son of Frankenstein’s monster and the Bride, it’s tough to go out in public, unless you want to draw the attention of a torch-wielding mob. And since Boy and his family live in a secret enclave of monsters hidden under Times Square, it’s important they maintain a low profile.
Boy’s only interactions with the world are through the Internet, where he’s a hacker extraordinaire who can hide his hulking body and stitched-together face behind a layer of code. When conflict erupts at home, Boy runs away and embarks on a cross-country road trip with the granddaughters of Jekyll and Hyde, who introduce him to malls and diners, love and heartbreak. But no matter how far Boy runs, he can’t escape his demons—both literal and figurative—until he faces his family once more.
This hilarious, romantic, and wildly imaginative tale redefines what it means to be a monster—and a man.
There are some who could call this blurb misleading, because it misses a huge part of the middle of this book–making it sound like the road trip is the main part of the book. It’s not, it doesn’t even come along until you’re about 3/4 of your way through the book.
Really though, it’s not so much misleading as just missing a few details that I would’ve liked to know about this book before I started reading it. One of those things goes by the name of VI.
VI only ever comes in existence this early in the book because of Boy’s father, Frankenstein, who wants different things for Boy than Boy wants. Things happen, and Boy winds up running away from home to pursue his dreams in his own way. One of those dreams is VI, a virtual artificial intelligence. As VI grows stronger and more evil, Boy realizes what he’s made and what has happened in his own life because of the unattainable dreams he’s chased after for so long and the clouded, imperfect vision of how he sees the world. Eventually, in order to make things right, Boy will have to face VI, his father and family and all the things he’s done to make room for his future.
Looking back on it, I think I can grow to like this book even more than I already do. I didn’t understand everything that happened right after I finished the book, but now I have a clearer understanding of it. This story is also a coming of age novel, about Boy growing up and learning to come to terms with who he is and the life he leads. It was great to see him grow so much as a character and through VI. It’s quite reminiscent of the Hero’s Journey, where Boy hit rock-bottom and came back to redeem himself. I especially liked the scenes where Boy faces VI, because I think it symbolizes Boy finally looking eye-to-eye with his own demons and the final villain, which was necessary for him and is something everyone has to do once in their own life.
Overall, I liked this book a lot and it’s a reread. There are a lot of great lessons to be learned from Boy’s story and I greatly appreciated reading it. Funny, entertaining and unique, MAN MADE BOY is a definite read for any Frankenstein fan. 4.3 stars.
pg count for the hardback: 368
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