Kat and the Bone by Tom Hoch

Reviewed by Teri Davis

Kat and the Bone“In order for your circumstances to change, YOU must change.”

Bullying is a common problem facing schools and neighborhoods. Unfortunately it usually does not end at graduation and carries into adulthood. How can anyone stop it?

Fortunately retired teacher Tom Hoch has written a fictional novel utilizing his years of experience in coaching and teaching social studies to offer a slightly different perspective that exhibits wisdom every person can value.

Click here for more information on Kat and the Bone

Jim Snertzbaum has been bullied for years. His parents died in a car accident forcing Jim to live with his grandfather. His new parent is concerned but is seldom home since he works as a trucker. Jim was bullied at his old school. Now in addition to losing his parents, he is a new student with a strange last name. He already was not very athletic due partially to being overweight. With few friends and no adult support, he is an easy target for the bullies. Jim quickly learned to ignore those who made fun of him and the putdowns but he did remember them, reflecting on those comments during his frequent loneliness.

As Jim is entering the eighth grade, he is determined to change his life. By chance, he discovers a paper outside a classroom which gives him an opportunity to change his life. No, this is not a fantasy but a page of mature advice with quotations that every person can use throughout their lives.

Jim wants to play high-school football. He is heavy enough but has never played the game. Also, Jim realizes that just showing up for fall football as a freshman with no experience, skills, or friends could possibly make his situation more difficult. He does not want to be the object of additional bullying. How could he possibly become a part of this well-respected group? How can he learn football without being part of the team?

Kat and the Bone allows the reader to accompany Jim as he attempts to overcome being a victim. This is his journey as he learns to take control of his life. Jim knows that his success at achieving this goal will set a foundation for his future. Through setting goals for himself, he learns how to deal with the everyday challenges of being a teenager who is not popular or respected but is taking steps to change himself and those around him.

This novel is a gem. With a character who really is a “diamond in the rough.” The story is progressively logical and well-organized with realistic characters. While Jim is facing his day-to-day challenges, the author encircles his experiences with a wealth of wisdom appropriate for people of all ages even though the intended audience is young adults. Kat and the Bone provides role models for teenagers as well as adults.

The value of friendship is a strong throughout this story. Respecting each person for their own individual gifts and talents is the underlying supporting theme.

A surprising aspect of this novel is the mentoring. Jim doesn’t wait for a mentor to magically appear, he learns how to find a mentor who can assist him to achieve success with his life. He finds the person and people that he needs to be successful in life.

Tom Hoch who has also written under the name T. L. Hoch, writes novels for young adults about sportsmanship. Kat and the Bone is his fourth novel following Chasing Normal, Discovering Balance, and Divot Dogs.

Kat and the Bone has no profanity or sexual incidents. There is some fighting with football players on and off the field. What is unusual is that this book is appropriate for young adults and anyone who enjoys realistic characters becoming role models in a variety of awkward situations.

Kat and the Bone is a wonderful novel for all readers.

Leave a Reply