“I expect you might think the story I am about to tell you is untrue or perversely gothic in some unhealthy way. You might even think I’ve exaggerated the facts in order to twist this book into a modern-day metaphor on the exploitation of human creation, as did Mary Shelley with Frankenstein. Maybe you’ll think I’m trying to spook you with a psychological tale of a murderous double as Edgar Allan Poe wrote in “William Wilson,” or to stir up family shame as Hawthorne did in The House of the Seven Gables. But my story is entirely different.”
So begins Jack Gantos’ unnerving drama about three generations of family and friends in a small western Pennsylvania town, held together by the secrets of obsessional mother love–a love so blood-bound that, once revealed, it has no choice but to turn against its keepers.