Untouchable by Scott O’Connor

UntouchableReviewed by Teri Davis

Death…grief….cleaning up the mess!

Most sixth-grade boys know about bullying. It is hard being bullied and socially being at the bottom of the totem pole with your classmates, Also having had your mother die a year ago does not help.

During the fall of 1999 many people were anticipating end of the world with Y2K, Whitley Earl Darcy is one of them. He has few friends, one being Matthew, a small black boy and the other being Michelle Moustache, a name the students made up, a large female classmate with a dark mustache.

Whitley, known in his family as The Kid, has difficulty with accepting his mother’s death. Being he did not actually see her dead body, he believes that she ran away and will return to him eventually. He decides to make a covenant with God. If he does not speak at all, God will allow his mother to return. So now, Whitley is a sixth-grade boy who still is a social outcast with body odor, bad breath, bullies, and no athletic ability who has taken a vow of silence.

His father, David, has a job of cleaning up crime scene messes, usually deaths. Yes, somebody needs to do this, but it is difficult to balance the daily needs for a single parent father and the detachment needed to clean up gruesome and messy deaths.

The characterization is outstanding. These characters are real and flawed which keeps you reading and wondering about how they are ever going to change or manage to survive their daily struggles. This is not an action adventure but people dealing with real problems in the real world.

Untouchable is a fast and engrossing story of grief and the slow road to recovery. At times the story is comical such as when The Kid gets a cell phone to be in contact with his dad. Remember, The Kid refuses to speak. How do they communicate then? No, they do not text.

Scott O’Connor previously wrote a novella in 2004, Among Wolves, which also deals with a troubled boy. Only this one believes that his real parents have been replaced by imposters. He lives in Los Angeles.

Scott O’Connor writes about dealing with real problems and not finding easy solutions. I look forward to more of his books in the future.

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