Book #2 Happy Baby by Stephen Elliott

“Most fiction about petty criminals, lowlifes, drug users and sexual deviants is so pleased with itself for depicting such people that it never gets around to saying anything interesting about them. Stephen Elliott’s “Happy Baby” brings a rare degree of intelligence and literary accomplishment to the story of Theo, a veteran of brutal Chicago group homes, hopelessly mangled relationships and random violence.”

The above is from the Salon’s Top Ten Book Of 2004 which is what motivated me to pick up “Happy Baby.” Throughout reading it, I kept stopping to admire its binding which differs from other books in ways that I don’t know the technical words to describe. I don’t think any author sits back in their chair in the deep hours of the night hoping that one day they’ll produce a book with such fantastic binding that people are continually in awe of it. However, someone somewhere does have a career where that’s the goal and whoever that someone is – job well done!

I guess my problem with books like this is that they don’t *grab* me, because I can’t believe them. The main character is raped by one of the guards at the juvenile dentention hall he is in. When he becomes an adult, he stumbles upon him and starts to stalk him. When he thinks of the conversation he wants to have with him, he wants to talk to him about the girl problems he’s having. The guard ordered a bigger kid to protect the main character so that nothing happened to him, but he still raped him throughout his detainment at the detention hall. I just can’t believe that anyone – even if they’re from Chicago* – is so messed up that they’d want to talk to their rapist about girl problems.

*hee hee.

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