By: Anthony Hains
I was just recently contacted by Goodreads. They congratulated me for reading 50 books in 2016. To be honest, I was kind of disappointed in myself since I read sixty-two in 2015. But, I digress… The truth is, of those 50 books only a few could be called true five-star reads. This book, The Disembodied, by Anthony Haines…is a five-star read.
Griffin Rinaldi is a typical thirteen-year-old kid. He’s into sports, girls, music and technology. Yet, Griffin’s life is anything but typical. His father is an abusive, alcoholic who takes joy in physically and emotionally torturing his son. Moreover, Griffin’s been diagnosed with Depersonalization Disorder—he often disconnects from his own body, floating above and watching as it moves around and goes on living without him. And…he’s being haunted (as in ghost) by a red-haired boy his age, Simon, who might be his friend…or his worst enemy.
I was excited to read this story and it did not disappoint. Mr. Hains’ characters are fully developed and completely genuine. Take main character Griffin, for example, his teenaged angst is just as compelling and dexterously drawn, true to life (e.g.: his first kiss) as the torture and abuse he undergoes at the hands of his own father. His mental instability (the Depersonalization Disorder) is terrifying. Yet, both Griffin and his maker (author Hains) handle it with aplomb. The appearance of Simon in Griffin’s life becomes just another facet of this poor boy’s existence. It SOUNDS like a lot…and of course, it is. Yet, Mr. Hains skillfully integrates it all seamlessly into one incredibly interesting, fully realized character.
The good news is, each of the major personalities within this book is drawn just as completely and with just as much skill.
Of course, the great characters are only as interesting as the situations they find themselves in; the story is what it’s all about. Right? Right! This was a quick read for me because I was in a constant state of “what happens next”. Mr. Hains expertly weaves a tale that is both tension-filled and fast-paced.
There is an element of violence, some not-so-nice language and some situational episodes that may be uncomfortable for the faint of heart. However, none of it—in my humble opinion—is gratuitous or unnecessary. To fully understand Griffin, you must see where he’s coming from and what he’s been through.
I will say that my only…critique…is that the penultimate moment—when everything explodes and then comes back together—seemed a little forced to me. Just a smidge. However, this did not distract (much) from my enjoyment of this story. It’s really a fun read.
I would recommend this to just about anyone.