Daniel Kraus
Rotters Cover



All I wanted was a little light reading. I had just finished Drood by Dan Simmons and American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis and had decided to take a break. What would be better than a little light reading about modern day grave robbers? Reading Daniel Kraus' Rotters taught me two things, if I ever had any doubts about how I want to be interned when I die, those have been resolved (Cremation, definitely), and high school is a thousand times more brutal than when I went to school.

I have to joke about this novel, because if I don't I would just spend hour crying over it. I swore after reading Bret Easton Ellis' American Psycho that I would never touch a novel that dark again, and less than one month later I am reading a novel that makes that one look like a fairy tale. The brutality and horror in Rotters has left me speechless. Never before in my life have I read descriptions of the brutality Joey Crouch, the main character suffers at school and at home. The first part, "Fun and Games" in this novel is not horror, but just so horrific as to destroy the psyche of both the main character and by extension the reader. This first section of the novel is filled with both physical and psychological torcher. I kept putting the book down and then picking it back up assuring myself that it could not possibly get worse, but it just kept going further and further down such a dark and terrifying road. Much like Joey, I kept praying to "two finger Jesus" that it would just get better.

By the time the reader gets to the second part of the book "Lamb and Slaughter", I at least had felt that I had become immune to the darkness, Like Joey, I had settled into the life of a "Digger". And then I got to the scene at Joey's mom's grave, and I realized that Joey had gone insane, and this realization seemed to break the spell that the first part of this novel had held me in. After that I was able to finish reading the novel with a sense of separation. This purposeful change in writing style was an incredibly smart move on the Authors part. I'm not sure that I would have been able to finish this novel if I had continued to feel such an attachment to Joey. It started to affect me in my real life. I started feeling depressed and anxious, and looking back, it was because of this novel.

I know this review is scattered but it is impossible for me to explain how very, very disturbing I found Rotters to be. This novel has been listed as a Young Adult novel in Goodreads, but I would absolutely not recommend this novel to any teen. The themes are just too dark. I'm not sure who I would be able to recommend it to. Am I glad I read this novel? Absolutely not. Would I recommend it? Again no. Was it an amazing read that has affected my life for the foreseeable future, absolutely yes. And because of that I am giving it 5 stars. Any book able to affect the reader like that deserves praise. Well done Daniel Kraus! I don't think I will ever be able to read anything by you again.