The Turtle Boy had been recommended to me through this site. Shortly after posting my review for The Traveling Vampire Show I got an email that simply said:
“If you like coming-of-age stories The Turtle Boy is a MUST READ!!!!!!!!!”
If he had stopped at eight exclamation points I wouldn’t have paid attention but how can you possibly ignore nine? Well, I’m glad I followed “John’s” advice and got the digital copy of this out-of-print novella.
Timmy Quinn is a normal boy who is enjoying a normal summer. He and his best friend Pete spend their days digging holes, exploring the local pond and spooking each other with tales of youthful tragedy. The basic ritual that most of us took for granted in our youth. Well, things change a bit when Pete and Timmy stumble upon a strange boy hanging around Myers Pond. The boy appears to be a little off- his skin sags a bit too much, his eyes have a dead quality and he also lets the turtles in the pond use his heel for breakfast. Timmy becomes fascinated with the boy and as he learns more about this mysterious Turtle Boy he uncovers the truly unsettling secrets that his neighbors have been hiding.
Kealan Patrick Burke packs a ton of story in a small space. He is able to build the story and dread with tight pacing and just enough ambiguity to keep the reader guessing. In the midst of this tense story, Burke uses Timmy as the vehicle to bring the reader back to their own youth. He establishes the character of Timmy with just enough generic childhood traits that the reader can instantly place themselves in the small shoes of the lead character. As a result, we feel a personal connection to the fear and shock that permeates through Timmy as he discovers the true origin of The Turtle Boy.
The Turtle Boy is a well-written, well-told coming of age story that leaves much of the answers open to interpretation. It really was a treat to read and I can’t wait to read the other stories in the Timmy Quinn series.
Pick up The Turtle Boy (The Timmy Quinn Series) on the cheap and pay a visit to Kealan Patrick Burke here.