My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Time taken to read - 6 days
Publisher - No Exit Press
Pages - 304
Blurb from Goodreads
Dodgers is a dark, unforgettable coming-of-age journey that recalls the very best of Richard Price, Denis Johnson, and J.D. Salinger. It is the story of a young LA gang member named East, who is sent by his uncle along with some other teenage boys—including East's hothead younger brother—to kill a key witness hiding out in Wisconsin. The journey takes East out of a city he's never left and into an America that is entirely alien to him, ultimately forcing him to grapple with his place in the world and decide what kind of man he wants to become.
Written in stark and unforgettable prose and featuring an array of surprising and memorable characters rendered with empathy and wit, Dodgers heralds the arrival of a major new voice in American fiction.
A fifteen year old gang member, East, has lost his drug house. In order to make it up to the boss, he takes on a job, to kill a witness with three other males. One being his younger brother Ty, always a law unto himself and two teenagers he hasn't met. With no credit cards, mobile phones and warned to avoid drawing attention to themselves, the boys set off on a journey that will change their lives.
Firstly, let me say I am in the minority in not loving this book, the reviews out so far are glowing and speak highly of this tale. Sadly it was not for me, the youths in this book are given huge responsibility from the crime boss when the oldest boy is only seventeen. The gun totting youngster has been dabbling with violence and guns since possibly as young as eleven. This may well add authenticity to crime happenings in that part of America and therefore weight to the story, I found it really hard to click with. The boys know how big a deal the job is, yet cause quite a commotion on route and draw a lot of attention to themselves. This may add credence to the tale as they are young men battling for leadership among each other, each with a reputation.
East is really the main character, despite his criminal background he cares for his mother and seems to long for a better relationship with his unruly younger brother. The job finds him going on a journey of who he is and who he wants to be. There is violence, murder, self examination and growth, crime, challenging behaviour and the main group frequently swear and use the N word to each other which some readers may find offensive. There are a few unexpected and surprising moments, one particular scene I didn't see coming and has quite an impact on young East. Colloquialisms from that area in America are also used making the dialogue between the characters, I found, hard going at times. Some of the terminology used and grammar I found I had to go over a few times to accurately get what the writer was saying. As I said though, so many people have enjoyed this story so I would urge you to give it a whirl if you have read and enjoyed similar books of this nature, sadly it just wasn't for me. 2/5 this time from me, thanks so much to RealReaders for providing me with an ARC of this in exchange for an honest review, Dodgers is available to buy from the 5th of April, 2016.