image from Goodreads

First off, a baboon is defined as “any of several large African and Asian monkeys having long squarish muzzles and usually short tails” (quoted from here). This is what a baboon looks like:

image from Wikipedia

I first encountered Paul Zindel in his famous novelette, The Pigman, and though I have a faint recollection about the story, I strongly remember how I liked it then. So, seeing a copy of this book at Booksale, I cannot pass up the opportunity to read another one of his novels.

Confessions of a Teenage Baboon is a coming-of-age story of sixteen year-old Christopher Boyd who has to live with his nurse/caregiver mother caring for a demented old lady named Carmelita Dipardi. Carmelita has a 30-year old son, Lloyd, who is a drunk and has taken an interest on teaching Chris a thing or two about life.

 Confessions of a Teenage Baboon is a dark, melancholic story, with dark, melancholic characters but I like how it ended – deeply moving and hopeful. Paul Zindel writes both with humor and wit and his analogies aren’t the clichés I often get to read in some other books. At first, Chris seems to be a normal boy but his troubles and struggles are slowly revealed one by one as the story progressed. It was not until I have finished reading when I finally understood who the “teenage baboon” in the title is being referred to in the story.

A very good read, short but pregnant with thoughts worthy of discussion. What does it really mean to be a man?

4 stars.

30/50 2011 Goodreads Reading Goal.


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