Blog Entry No. 34 – Not My Ruckus

Dear Readers,

today’s review will be on an audiobook (my first one on this blog), which touched me deeply. In what kind of way I will tell you later on, but if you’re capable of hard truths and unpleasant stories, you should definitely give this book a read.

The cover of Not My Ruckus is beautiful. I love that kind of art with the flowers growing between and seemingly melt into the title and the house. It looks gorgeous!

Not My Ruckus is the debut novel of Chad Musick, an author, who „makes no secret of being epileptic, autistic, and arthritic, facts that inform how he approaches both science and the arts“ (quote from the information about the author on goodreads). The novel was published on February 16th 2021 by Cinnabar Moth Publishing LLC and Ivy Tara Blair narrated the audiobook, which has a lenght of 8 hours and 32 minutes. You find it with the ISBN 9781953971036.

So far about the dry facts, but the content is far more complex. That’s why I won’t tell too much, the story develops fast and I don’t want to spoiler you important events.
The plot is told by the main character: 14 years old Clare, an incredibly strong person, who cares heartbreakingly much about her loved ones. She lives in a small town in 1980s Texas, grows up in a highly religious and abusive family and neighborhood. The narrations starts with her first kiss with Esther, her neighbour. Sadly, right at the moment of that kiss Esther’s mom is bleeding in the hospital because of a gun shot. The novel starts with a kiss and a murder and develops thrillingly till the last few seconds of the audiobook.

Listening to this book was shocking, thrilling, at some points lovely and definitely eye opening. Musick described so many forms of abuse and violence in families and the neighborhood that I wouldn’t recommend this book for people who are very sensible for such issues, although he only implicitly described the actions and mostly did not write about them in detail. Leaving many things unsaid but imaginable lead to a heart touching, unpleasant reading experience, without using to much horror. I really appreciate his writing style; it made the important issues and events clear and left enough space to create a thrilling novel that needs to be read between the lines sometimes. The author addressed important topics and I was shocked and upset about knowing this is reality for way too many people in this world. Chad Musick wrote an incredibly good and important book with gorgeous character developments (not all though, but the important ones evolved greatly) and a stirring plot.
But I’m also reviewing the audio of the book and to be honest, I didn’t find the narration fitting. My first impression was that the narrator sounds bored and unenthusiastic, which doesn’t fit for a 14 year old girl and such a complex story. Though Ivy Tara Blair made it a bit hard for me to find into the novel, I enjoyed how she changed her voice for the different characters. It made it a lot easier to distinguish between Clare’s narration and direct speech of other people.

All in all Not My Ruckus is a well written, important novel that addresses major issues, but in order to do so writing about abuse and violence is needed, which is essential but maybe not fitting for readers, who aren’t capable of or don’t like reading about disturbing scenes. Consider the trigger warning, it has its reasons. Since I didn’t quite like the narration of the audiobook, I consider reading the ebook or paperback sometime in addition.

Have a great week,

PS: I received the audiobook from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. That did not influence my opinion on the book.

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