Saturday, September 24, 2011

Review The Underdog

Title The Underdog
By Markus Zusak
For Fun
Source I own it

First sentence We were watching the telly when we decided to rob the dentist.

The Underdog, the first book in the Wolfe brother series, introduces us to Cameron and Ruben Wolfe.  

General thoughts
I've been waiting a long time to get my hands on Zusak's first book. Thank goodness it was finally published in the US so I could read it. This being his first book, and the fact that Suey, another huge fan, wasn't as impressed with his writing in this one, had me leerily going into it. But still, this is Zusak we're talking about and while, yes, I love his entirely unique writing style, I adore his beautifully honest stories with their sweet messages even more. This little story doesn't have some huge event or a climactic ending, it doesn't have some whirling plot that keeps us turning pages but will be forgotten not long after the last page is read. It's about life, and the lessons we can glean from it. Sure, Cameron couldn't talk to girls and Ruben and he were pretty useless criminals. Sure Cameron doesn't get the girl and Ruben can't win at soccer; Steve gets hurt and Sarah loses her boyfriend, but the sweet lesson of Cameron's "underdog dream" seemed, to me, to be the whole point. Life is going to keep shoving you down, but you have to keep getting up and fighting back.  I found myself just as touched and comforted reading this one as any of his others and I consider myself very lucky to have finally had the pleasure. Plus it had this little gem:

" don't learn anything unless you can find the patience to read."  page 22

Cameron: I'm actually only going to mention Cameron because he is one of my top three favorite literary characters ever. I've never related with a character as much as I do with Cameron in all three of these Wolfe Brothers books. Love him!

Would I recommend it? 
Of course.


  1. I've gone on to re-read the next one, Fighting Ruben Wolfe, and I'm realizing that this first bit, The Underdog, serves as a simple intro to the brothers. So it makes more sense in the context that you just keep reading book 2, and you already know them and their family situation. I've also decided that these books, including The Underdog, are so wonderful because of the voice of Cameron. Even though I've put it down to concentrate on other books right now, I can't stop thinking about him! LOVE.

  2. I've never heard of this title. So far, I'm a one-Zusak girl. I've got to amend that. Great review!

  3. Suey, I know, I adore him. I've been thinking about doing a character connection but I don't think I could even express how much I love him!

    Bookfool, Oh, you definitely need to read more Zusak.

  4. I haven't read anything by Zusak yet :( Pretty shameful for an Aussie, but The Book Thief has about a million holds on it at the library. Maybe the Underdog might have less holds. I'm always eager for an underdog story!

  5. Lan, Tsk, tsk. ;) You really should read at least one. I would recommend The Messenger over The Book Thief.

  6. I really like that opening sentence; it captures the imagination.

  7. Oh very cool. I'm glad you finally got your hands on this!

  8. Trisha, Me too.

    iwriteinbooks, I know, I waited for a long time!

  9. Never heard about this one, but definitely got to go check it out. Is this the same author as The Book Thief? I haven't read that one (yet) but heard tons about it! Great review :D

  10. For some reason I've been avoiding this guy's books. I'm finally going to read The Book Thief for a book club, but I'll have to keep The Underdog in mind. If it's got one of your most favorite characters in it, it's got to be good. :)

  11. iLuvReadingtooMuch, Yes, it's the same guy. I actually like The Book Thief the least. Of course, I love it too but I like his others better.

    Kathy, Oh why? Why?! He's amazing! Everyone tries The Book Thief first and it's great but it's not the book I'd recommend. I'd read I Am The Messenger first.

  12. I've never heard of either this book or Zusak...embarrassing! I'm going to go google it now haha! I love the first line that you posted though! It has certainly intrigued me!

  13. Natalie, No! You haven't heard of Zusak? You must rectify that ASAP!