Rule of the Bone, Paperback
3 out of 5 (1 rating)


Bone is a punked-out teenager, living in a trailer with his alcoholic mother and abusive stepfather.

Rejected by his parents, out of school and in trouble with the police, he's now into drugs and shoplifting as he drifts through dope squats and shopping malls.

Until, breaking away from a group of biker thieves, he finds refuge in an abandoned school bus with I-Man, an exiled Rastafarian who dramatically changes his life.




Free Home Delivery

on all orders

Pick up orders

from local bookshops


Showing 1 - 1 of 1 reviews.

Review by

Rule of the Bone is the story of a young boy from Au Sable in New York State trying to sort himself out in spite of being hindered by every adult around him. When we first meet Chappie, he's the ultimate lost boy. At just fourteen years old, he is on the verge of being disowned by his mother and abusive stepfather. Chappie is already well on the way to trouble (presumably we know this because he has a mohawk and a nose piercing), and for the first few chapters he certainly finds it. So far, so stereotypical.After fleeing a burning squat, he and his friend Russ part ways for a while. Chappie finds himself returning to an abandoned school bus on some waste ground where he'd sought refuge once before. Only this time, the bus has a new inhabitant - a middle-aged Jamaican who goes by the name of I-Man, and who becomes a huge influence on Chappie's transition to Bone, his new persona.While the first few chapters of the book may not elicit much sympathy from the reader, it soon becomes apparent that this could be the author's intention. Punk Chappie appears to be a selfish and thoughtless boy, though what we're really seeing is naivete and immaturity from a kind enough but rudderless child. As Chappie grows into Bone - the man he wants to become - we see evidence of his innate kindness as well as learning more about the complete unreliability of the adults in his life. I-Man is an anchor for him, a moral and spiritual guide if that doesn't sound too cheesy, and Bone latches on to him as one of the few positive influences he's had in his life.Bone is ultimately a young, naive and misguided soul, but he's had very little help, to be fair, and the turn of events in the middle of the book take his life in a very new direction that is just as challenging as everything he's faced so far.This was quite a sweet book really, even if it makes you feel sad about the inadequacies of people who have children then treat them as nuisances for the rest of their lives. Bone becomes a survivor, and you have to give him credit for that.

Also by Russell Banks   |  View all