I opened Bones & All – Camille DeAngelis‘ book – and started reading. I stopped at page two and wondered just how rusty my English is. Is it possible I can’t understand what I’m reading? I tried again. Alas, I did understand it, after all! I just couldn’t accept that’s how the story started. There’s a fair-haired baby sitter singing a lullaby to her ward, a girl, and gently strokes her head.
«I had my teeth but I was too small to swallow the bones». When the girl’s mother returns, all she finds is a heap of bones, picked clean, on the living room floor. The baby sitter’s first boyfriend at camp collects exuvia, the remains of a bug moulting, and nibbles on them as if they were candy. This won’t save him from his fatal end: instead of sex, he ends up lifeless in his sleeping tent. At any rate – sys the protagonist – he stank of rotten eggs and didn’t brush his teeth. His blood, though, was warm, his fingers tasty, and he reminded her of a sloppy joe.
The protagonist is abandoned, afraid and powerless, by her own mother at age sixteen. The only clue left behind is the name of her estranged father.
Maren – the protagonist – takes with her a copy of Alice in Wonderland and any other monster story she knew (odd!) especially the tales of Sawney Beane, the head of a cannibal family that lived in Scotland in the sixteenth century, which probably never existed anyway and is a legend told to either slander the Scottish or promote some form of tourism. It inspired movies, that’s for sure: Wes Craven in 1977, Rob Schmidt in 2003, and Christian Viel in 2003.
Maren’s journey is a story of meetings and slow discovery of her own being, until a final kiss that we leave us on the edge of our seats.