Publisher's Note:  

For fans of The Dog Stars and Station Eleven, Scrapper traces one man’s desperate quest for redemption in a devastated Detroit.

"Has the feel of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road set in present-day Motor City... powerful."
Publishers Weekly

Detroit has descended into ruin. Kelly scavenges for scrap metal from the hundred thousand abandoned buildings in a part of the city known as “the zone,” an increasingly wild landscape where one day he finds something far more valuable than the copper he’s come to steal: a kidnapped boy, crying out for rescue. Briefly celebrated as a hero, Kelly secretly avenges the boy’s unsolved kidnapping, a task that will take him deeper into the zone and into a confrontation with his own past and long-buried traumas.

The second novel from the acclaimed author of In the House upon the Dirt between the Lake and the Woods, Scrapper is a devastating reimagining of one of America’s greatest cities, its beautiful architecture, its lost houses, shuttered factories, boxing gyms, and storefront churches. With precise, powerful prose, it asks: What do we owe for our crimes, even those we’ve committed to protect the people we love?

This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Soho Press, Inc.


by Matt Bell

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Overall Review:  

I knew from the get-go that I wanted to read this book. Detroit and its state of disrepair interests me, but the idea of a somewhat "future" Detroit--one where men go about claiming bits and pieces of houses that are valuable to resell, one where simply living day to day can be a dangerous challenge--further perked my interest. I would not categorize this book as "dystopian", but it's something similar.

One part of this book did confuse me. For most of the book, the narration is in the third person. Then in some chapters (or sections, this book is kind of split up in odd ways), the narration switches to first person. I am under the impression that the two narrations are separate people, but perhaps not. Perhaps the main character, Kelly, is actually a man with a split personality. I do not know.

This is a book of imaginative realism, wrestling, scavenging, justice, and something like love. I could hardly put it down, and yet at times I wanted to. For some readers, this book might be one you are enthralled with, for others, you might find yourself reading and standing on the outskirts of the story, not sure if you want to fully immerse yourself. I especially think that anyone who lives in, has lived in, or has visited Detroit will want to get their hands on this book.

Content Analysis:  

Profanity/Language:  3 derogatory names; 2 scatological words; 5 anatomical terms; 2 F-Word derivatives.

Violence/Gore:  A man finds and picks up a dead animal; a miscarriage and stillborn pregnancy are mentioned with no detail; violence in wrestling is depicted briefly; a character thinks of horrible things that could occur (drive by shooting, car crash, house fire, drowning, suicide); a group of men attack another man and hits him violently in one brief scene; a character recalls a personal crises that occurred involving a death of a loved one; natural disasters are mentioned to occur; a woman is mentioned to have a debilitating physical impairment; innocent people are mentioned to be force fed and tortured, a brief scene is given; a woman is mentioned to try to kill her baby by flushing it down the toilet; a woman beats her husband out of rage; a man is mugged and a brief scene ensues; a minor boy is seen to have bruises and other injuries; a man shoots and kills another man in a brief violent scene; boxing and wrestling occur in a scene and reach a high level of violence; a man shoots at a minor.

Sex/Nudity:  Graffiti depicts genitalia; a father is seen wearing only his underwear in one brief, non-sexual scene; a sexual encounter is mentioned to occur; adults are mentioned to have sex multiple times throughout the course of this book; sex is described between a couple as "slow and quiet"; an abortion is mentioned; a man and woman that are unmarried lie together nude; a boy is mentioned to be nude and in a horrible physical condition; an adult man seems to be sexually attracted to young boys; an adult couple is described to make love with no detail given.

Mature Subject Matter:  

Truancy, death of a spouse, death of a loved one, attempted murder of baby by mother, domestic violence.

Alcohol / Drug Use:  

Smoking pot is mentioned; a man smokes; a woman smokes at a bar; an ash tray is emptied; minors smoke in a brief scene; beer is served among adults; a man is mentioned to be on drugs.

Reviewed By Lydia
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