The Looney Experiment

Thursday, October 1, 2015

I start to wonder if this is the way life really works out: you think everything’s great when you’re a little kid. Your dad tells you he loves you, your mom tells you she loves you, you draw pictures, and you see a sewer and pretend it can lead you to heaven and hell if you ever decide to become a tourist and take the trip. Then, you grow up and realize that’s all a load of crap. Your parents decide they’re going to get divorced; you get bullied at school because you’re a mime compared to everyone else; and you’ve got the World’s Worst Name. I try to force myself to see that sewer as some kind of crazy adventure again. I try to let go of all the stuff that is eating away at me and just remember what it was like to be little again – to have fun. I stand there and stare at that tunnel until my eyes and my head ache from staring. No matter how hard I try, all I can see is a dirty, old sewer.

Book: The Looney Experiment by Luke Reynolds, Blink (Zondervan Publishers), 2015
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Target Audience: Boys 13-16
Subjects: Divorce, bullying, identity, courage
Summary: The worst name in the world. Atticus. So easily turned to Fatticus by the school bully. That’s the first of his grievances against the world. The second is the day he realizes he will never achieve his goal of gaining his father’s love. His father walks out on him and the rest of his family. No more trying to learn how to play baseball in order to please him. No more trying to become bold and able to speak in class. None of that matters anymore. His father has abandoned the family and there’s nothing more Atticus can do to try to win that love. His third grievance comes when the only man who has ever stood up for him or given him a voice or a reason to have courage is not there when Atticus needs him.  In fact, due to bullies throwing their weight around, this man may never be there for Atticus ever again. So what’s the point of trying anymore? Nothing is going to go his way anyhow. He might as well just stop fighting it.
Notes: The Looney Experiment is a character study, but for boys. It’s about one boy trying to find his identity and courage as he fights to make sense of all the brokenness around him. The day a new teacher shows up at school and through rather strange methods, shows him how to find the courage to be himself, Attitcus thinks things are going to change. Then when the school bully gets to Atticus while the teacher isn’t there, Atticus concludes nothing will ever change and gives up until the girl he likes teams up with his teacher to get through to him. When he finally thinks of someone else, he finds the courage he’s been wanting all along.
This book is absolutely not a Christian book. There is a reference to kids being drug to church and that’s it. Attitcus does not turn to the only One who will never leave Him when he feels abandoned. No one has true answers for him, only “be courageous because we think you are even though you’ve never given even a hint of that and besides, you’re named after a courageous fictional character”. It simply doesn’t provide truth. It’s all based in feelings and ideas rather than showing the character where to turn for real answers to his very real and horrific problems. 
One quote from the book I think sums up well the worldview or mindset behind the book: "Well, there you go. I wanted you to begin to get the sense that school doesn't have to be what it has always been. Just because things are a certain way, that doesn't make them always right." The author seems to be wanting to explore new ideas, maybe the idea of answers within yourself instead of from God. 
In fact, the book hints at vulgar with the language used. “Crap and piss” are both used, one multiple times. References to farting are constant and one disgusting scene details going to the bathroom as an attempt at insulting the bully. When the bully attacks the character the final time in this book, it also hints almost at sexual references. The bully tells the character he can either take a beating or take his pants off and give them to the bully.
I would not recommend this book for any purpose.
Spiritual Content Recommendation Scale: 0/5
Reviewer: J:-)mi

James 3:17 - But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.


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