Prepare yourself for a world in which boy "oafs" keep "mans" as pets, a world in which a lucky male or female man is allowed to actually live in the same house as their oaf owner, and in which unlucky mans are often consumed as part of a normal, everyday meal. Now you are ready for Preston Allen's Every Boy Should Have a Man.
Adult oafs normally stand something over thirteen feet tall and even their children are soon taller than man-pets. Every oaf-year is the equivalent of four man-years so, over the course of a lifetime, an oaf is likely to have several mans as pets. Get the picture? Strangely, some mans can talk and some can play singing musical instruments. "Talking mans" and "musical mans,” however, are very valuable and are generally owned by only the wealthy. The poor have to be content with ordinary, less talented, mans and their pets have to hope that they are not stolen to become the dinner of someone even poorer than their owner.
Every Boy Should Have a Man is largely the story of two oaf boys, one wealthy and one poor, and the female man they share over the years. Their world is not a happy one. It is a world dominated by a small wealthy class that sometimes wages war against the poorer, desperate majority of the population. And, unfortunately for the domesticated man population, neither army is reluctant to use mans as cannon fodder.
This little book (191 pages) is one that will, most obviously, make readers think about our relationship to our own pets, particularly dogs, but it also addresses numerous other issues. It is a well considered fable that touches on things like war, religious conflict, racism, global warming, and what it means to be "civilized" – all of it cloaked within a rousing adventure tale that fits comfortably into the fantasy genre.
Bottom Line: Every Boy Should Have a Man is one of those books I still find myself thinking about several weeks after I finished reading it. I have even brought it up in conversation with friends whom I know are nonreaders because it is just so pertinent to today's world. The book is a little heavy-handed at times, particularly on the global warming issue, but it deserves a wide audience. Author Preston Allen has a winner.
(Review Copy provided by Publisher)