October 19, 2011

Fighting Ruben Wolfe by Markus Zusak

Cameron and Ruben Wolfe see despair and little hope in their Australian working class home; their father out of work, mother doing domestic labor, and their sister getting a reputation for "getting around." The boys themselves are not held in high esteem, hanging out at dog races, and sparing in the back yard, each wearing a single boxing glove. At school, a bloke makes a comment about their sister, and Ruben beats him to a pulp. Word gets around, and when arriving home from school, the boys are greeted by a tough-guy with an offer: come and fight in an illegal boxing syndicate and make some money. Ruben is wanted for his fighting ability, and Cameron, because he will illicit sympathy tips for his inability to fight. Both sign on, and "Fighting Ruben Wolfe" takes on a double meaning....
This is far more than a story about brothers who box. This a story about brothers with a strong bond, and deep affection for each other and their family. The writing is simple, street-wise, and poetic. This book is the second of a trilogy, but Markus Zusak's (The Book Thief) first book to be released in the U.S. You can now find the entire trilogy published as one title called Underdogs, also available in the Reed library. This is an outstanding read.
Reed Reads Score: 4.5

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