By Ken Wells
Random House Trade, Paperback, 9780375758164, 272pp.
Publication Date: August 14, 2001
Fifteen-year-old Meely LaBauve is growing up on Catahoula Bayou and living by his wits. Not since Huck Finn rafted down the Mississippi has there been a coming-of-age story like this, told in such an utterly authentic unlettered American voice. From a charming encounter with first love in the Canciennes' corn patch to an adventurous paddle through wild and timeless places little explored, Ken Wells has cooked up a zesty gumbo of a book--rich, poignant, and often hilarious.
* An American Library Association/YALSA best book of the year
"Do yourself a favor and become acquainted with Emile LaBauve... a cross between Huck Finn & Oliver Twist, with south Louisiana accent and a backwoods attitude... There's a major talent at work here."
--The Denver Post
"[A] short and expert first novel... not only funny but infused with Wells's deep love of Cajun patois."
--The New York Times Book Review
"[An] endearing debut"
--The Washington Post Book World
"Wells makes a lively fiction debut with this affectionate slice of Louisiana bayou life... Meely's Cajun-spiced charisma never flags."
"[Meely is] a cross between Huck Finn and Oliver Twist, which a South Louisiana accent and a backwoods attitude....There's a major talent at work here."
"Often laugh-out-loud funny [but] Wells has carved a sincere and courageous portrait of a boy becoming a man."