Monday, September 26, 2011

The Tanglewood Terror

The Tanglewood Terror
by Kurtis Scaletta
Knopf, 2011. 264 pgs. Fiction.

The Tanglewood Terror is a hilarious horror story and no one gets nearly as horrified as I think they should when glow-in-the-dark mushrooms take over their town. Eric Parrish and his little brother Brian find the first of the glowing mushrooms in a field behind their house and become quickly concerned that besides making for an interesting science project, the mushrooms may be of the same variety that destroyed the town of Keatston, a colonial village built where Tanglewood now stands. When the mushrooms take over the Tanglewood Owls' football field ("Who's going to win? Whooo? Whoo?") even the loss in a championship game takes second place to the encroaching fungi. Can Eric, Brian, and his new friend Mandy, an escapee from a too-strict boarding school, have to figure out how the Keatston Meetinghouse survived the first mushroom plague at the same time they are caring for a temperamental pig, trying to deal with the boys' frequently absentee adolescent-like father, and evading the law, aka, their mothers. There is so much going on in The Tanglewood Terror that the whole is deliciously greater than the sum of its parts. Themes of maturity, forgiveness, sibling relationships, religion, and historicity are interwoven with the sinister, suspenseful action of a truly gripping read.

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