Wednesday, April 4, 2018

[Book Review] Hug Chickenpenny: The Panegyric of an Anomalous Child by S. Craig Zahler

Book review of Hug Chickenpenny: The Panegyric of an Anomalous Child by S. Craig Zahler

Hug Chickenpenny: The Panegyric of an Anomalous Child by S. Craig Zahler is a wonderfully bizarre but heartbreaking tale filled to the brim with symbolism.

This is one that you should not read alone! Trust me. You're going to want to talk about it! I'm so glad that this was the book pick for my work book club. We had such an amazing conversation about it.

Let's dive in to my review!

Hug Chickenpenny: The Panegyric of an Anomalous Child by S. Craig Mahler 

Hug Chickenpenny is an anomalous child. Born from tragedy and unknown paternity, this asymmetrical and white-haired baby inspires both ire and pity at the orphanage, until the day that an elderly eccentric adopts him as a pet. The upbeat boy's spirit is challenged in his new home and as he is exposed to prejudiced members of society in various encounters. Will Hug and his astronautical dreams survive our cruel and judgmental world?

My thoughts:
Phew, what a read this was! No matter how long I've tried to organize my thoughts... I just keep wanting to type out the same things; this is definitely a very unique tale! So my apologies, my thoughts below are quite choppy!

Full disclosure, I didn't actually read the synopsis before I started reading the book. Reading it now, I highly doubt I would have given this book a chance if I had. My coworker, April, had told me that it was pretty dark but really interesting. But other than that, I had no idea what I was getting myself into...

Hug is such an amazing character! I couldn't move forward with this review without shouting that out! He is a character that I know will stick with me for a long time to come. Hug was so unique and otherworldly. Right from the synopsis you can tell that he doesn't have an easy life. But no matter what was thrown his way, he remained hopeful and positive. Needless to say, he was a character that I really rooted for! And I just loved that he went around saying, "Don't be mean."

I don't want to dive into all of the symbolism and spoil things, but I will say that my favorite element was the amethyst. During our book club chat, I looked up what amethyst has symbolized throughout history, and each explanation totally fit into to the story! There were also elements added into the tale that seemed wildly inappropriate, but created wonderful talking points!

Saying that I "enjoyed" this book doesn't really fit. I started out very confused and from there, things got more and more peculiar as the events of Hug's life unfolded. Some of the situations he was forced into made me cringe or got my blood boiling. Other situations were very strange. But some were enjoyable and quite lovely!

Beware, the negatives:
My two main complaints are centered around repetition and flow. The writing was a bit repetitive at times, though it did seem to be done on purpose. It's just my usual reading irk! As for the organization of the storyline, it just felt so choppy, especially in the beginning as Hug grew up. I found it really difficult to gauge how much time had passed.

My favorite passage: 
Floorboards slammed into her left hip and outstretched palms. For a moment, the dull thud of her arrival echoed throughout the library.

My final thoughts:
This was such a quick read! It's definitely one to read over a weekend because you won't want to put it down. While I didn't really enjoy it, per say, I do definitely appreciate the story and I can see myself re-reading it for sure!

This book reminded me of the bittersweetness of A Series Of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket. So if you enjoy novels that are a bit strange and frustrating, you will love this one!

Thanks for reading!
Keep an eye on this title; it's being made into a film!


  1. I'm not sure if this is quite for me, but I love that cover. Great review, Erica!

  2. I wish I had time to check this one out, Erica. The cover is wonderful!

  3. Thanks for sharing - I'm glad you "enjoyed" this one if you will. That's awesome you were able to discuss the book with people from work. Some books just NEED to be talked about.


    1. :-D For sure!! This was an amazing book for discussion! I may have to recommend it for my other book club as well!

  4. This is one I’d definitely skim over and pass up. I’m glad you reviewed it because now I’m interested.

    1. Right?! I'm so glad I hadn't read the synopsis before I picked it up!!

  5. Yay! I am happy to see you've enjoyed this one E! :)

  6. Glad you enjoyed this one so much. I've seen it mentioned a few places but to be honest, had no idea what it was about.