The novel is about a 14 year old narrator Chappie, who is also called bone due to the tattoo that he had. Life became interesting at the age of fourteen, although the life at home was not that good. His father left home when he was 5, and his mother married a drunken lout called Ken, who turned out to be very abusive and a brutal father. Both parents became alcoholic and ignored their family responsibilities. At this point, Chappie wanted to gain attention. He therefore decided to Mohawk haircut, pierced ears and a nose ring (Garfinkel, 2007).
He could not afford to raise money for drugs and this made him steal his mother’s valuable coins in order to pay for them. Chappie after dropping school became a guider of a Rastafarian Jamaican immigrant. This Novel has two parts, the first part is about the family struggles in America and the second part takes place in Jamaica (Garfinkel, 2007). There are open descriptions of drug use and sexual abuse in comparison with the age of the narrator which brings controversy in the novel. The novel has constant supply of unique characters during the journey of Chappie. At first Chappie decided to live with his best friend Russ in a broken down apartment that was full of boys who were drug addicts. Among all the boys, only one turned to be good that is Bruce and we see him sacrificing his life when the house was in fire so as to safe Chappie (Garfinkel, 2007).
Young people fall in bad acts because their parents are irresponsible which leads to family break ups leaving the children to suffer. In this novel we see that Chappie ran from their house because his step father was very brutal and his original father abandoned them. He therefore moves out of the family to find a new place to settle so that he will keep off his offensive father and ignorant mother.
Chappie was living in an abandoned, immobile school bus with I-Man, who was an illegal immigrant from Jamaica, and froggie, a little girl he had rescued from the drug addict where she was sold by her mother (Garfinkel, 2007). Their life with I-Man was better; I-Man had turned the school bus into a green house. They changed their diet into a vegetarian one. He also taught them the way of life of Rastafarians. Chappie is n search of his true identity and he is too young to make his own decisions this is why he follows his friend’s route that engage him to commit crimes and become involved in drugs (Garfinkel, 2007).
The truth is that Chappie’s life change due to the company that he gets from I-Man. There is a great difference between the Chappie we see at the beginning of the novel and the Chappie we get at the end of the novel (Garfinkel, 2007). He begins his life as a young boy whose life was addicted to marijuana and does everything to satisfy his addiction. As days proceed he starts to understand life and becomes more independent. His meeting with Jamaican Rastafarian made his life to change. I-Man refers to a person who is true to himself and has a pure identity. This sought of identity makes Chappie to change from childhood to adulthood and a more certain person. Chappie decided to follow I-Man to Jamaica where they engaged in drug business which they traded to tourists. When they were leaving to Jamaica, I-man makes a Jah stick a religious symbol which used to fascinate Chappie. After this he went to stay with his real father and went to live at the mother ship. It is this time that his in mother ship that he loses his virginity to his father’s girlfriend (Garfinkel, 2007).
In his journey he meets Holden whom they decided to drop school together. Their lives seem to be similar but they are much difference. For example Chappie was brought up in a very poor family while his friend Holden grew up in a rich family at the center of New York City. Both of them are confused in life and don’t have the slightest idea of where to start. They are seeking for self identity rather than appreciating the one that they have (Garfinkel, 2007).
There are three men who have of great impact in the life of Bone that is I-Man, Ken, and Doc. I-man gives spiritual strength and patience to Bone. On the other hand Ken offers parental support and Doc makes Bone realize that he must lead a different life. Poor Family relationships are the one that lead Chappie to live such a life where he meets many people and lead him through from childhood to adulthood. The author of the novel does not give the reader a chance to sympathize with Chappie despite his good acts like saving the young girl get away from abusive pornographer (Garfinkel, 2007).
Garfinkel, A. (2007). Screenplay Story Analysis: The Art and Business. New York, Allworth Communications