Since Fuse #8 is always singing praises of Donuthead by Sue Stauffacher, I figured it would be worth picking up, and I discovered Fuse #8 was certainly right about it; it was wonderful. Donuthead (full name Franklin Delano Donuthead) has one main aspiration in life; to remain as safe as possible at all times. He only eats strictly healthy food, he avoids large bodies of water and motor vehicles because drowning and car crashes are two of the highest causes of kids’ deaths, and he measures his arms and legs everyday because he’s convinced one side of his body is smaller than the other. As you might imagine, the closest thing he has to a friend is Gloria, the woman at the National Safety Department that he calls for updates on safety statistics. Then Sarah Kervick shows up at school. Franklin is immediately repulsed by her because she’s filthy, but she bullies him into meeting her to help her brush out her messy hair. Before Franklin knows it, Sarah ends up at his house and his mom becomes her new chum. As Franklin helps Sarah in her quest to be normal, Franklin learns a few lessons himself.
I’m not sure how she manages it, but somehow Stauffacher makes Franklin seems funny instead of a pitiful kid with OCD. I think the author managed to create a main character that kids will be able to relate despite the fact that he’s incredibly quirky. The relationship between Sarah and Franklin reminded me a little of Freak The Mighty, because Franklin seems unsure of why Sarah befriends him in the first place, but he warms up to her and is anxious to help her achieve her dreams.
A few things that I loved about this book: first, that Franklin’s mom is a great single mom (although I’m not sure how she can financially support her family and still have so much time off and I also wonder whether a lot of the intended audience will know about artificial insemination), and second, I love the message that there are kind, wonderful people out there helping people they barely know achieve their dreams. Then add the beautiful ending and you’ll know why I finished this book feeling so happy about life.
I agree with Fuse #8 that I’m not really sure what the author is trying to say about kids who don’t like sport and about fighting, but I found the book highly entertaining. I’ll be anxiously awaiting the release of Donutheart in the fall. In the meantime, I will have to keep checking Sue’s blog on Amazon.