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Publisher's Summary

Luther T. Farrell has got to get out of Flint, Michigan. 

As his best friend Sparky says, "Flint's nothing but the Titanic."

And his mother, aka the Sarge, says, "Take my advice and stay off the sucker path."

The Sarge milked the system to build an empire of slum housing and group homes. Luther's just one of the many people trapped in the Sarge's Evil Empire, but he's about to bust out.

If Luther wins the science fair this year, he'll be on track for college and a future as America's best-known and best-loved philosopher. All he's got to do is beat his arch rival Shayla Patrick, the beautiful daughter of Flint's finest undertaker, and the love of Luther's life.

Sparky's escape plans involve a pit bull named Poofy and the world's scariest rat. Oh, and Luther. Add to the mix Chester X., Luther's mysterious roommate; Dontay Gaddy, a lawyer whose phone number is 1-800-SUE'M ALL; and Darnell Dixon, the Sarge's go-to guy who knows how to break all the rules.

Bucking the Sarge is a story that only Christopher Paul Curtis could tell. Once again the Newbery Award-winning author of Bud, Not Buddy and The Watsons Go to Birmingham - 1963 gives us a whole new angle on life and a world full of unforgettable and hilarious characters. Readers will root for Luther and Sparky every step of the way.

©2004 Christopher Paul Curtis (P)2004 Random House, Inc. Listening Library, an imprint of the Random House Audio Publishing Group

Critic Reviews

"Hilarious.... Gripping story." (Booklist)

"Curtis tells the teen's story with his usual combination of goofy humor, tongue-in-cheek corniness, and honest emotion....Any teen who's ever wanted to stick it to the man (or woman) will love this story." (School Library Journal

What listeners say about Bucking the Sarge

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Great Book - even for me!

Okay, I'm a 37 year old white woman, probably not the target demo for this book which is aimed at young men, teenagers, specifically. But since I'm from Michigan and the story takes place there, I was curious. The characters are well developed and engaging, the plot is solid and not predictable (and not too outlandish) and Michael Boatman does a fantastic job narrarating. So well, in fact, I'll be eagerly watching for other titles he reads, as he breathes a lot of life and personality into the story without distracting from my concentrating on the tale. (I find some narrarators are too showy, or unevenly paced, not so here.)

It was light, but smart, and for a fun listen beats the books I <i>am</i> a target market for (<i>Bergdorf Blondes</i>, the <i>Shopaholic</i> books) eighteen ways. The story is moving without being sappy, and the characters are quirky and human. I'd recommend this book to anyone from teenage boys to hipsters to grown men who remember what it's like to go through the awkward teenage years, as well as anyone who who's ever had a boss or a parent they thought they could never beat. It left me smiling and satisfied, and very pleasantly surprised.

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Wonderful Novel

I listened to this book with my 13 year old son on a road trip. He had previously read two other books by this author, one of which was used for book report material. My son had enjoyed the author's sense of humor and interesting characters that were developed in the books that he had read previously.

This book lived up to it's expectations. We laughed through much of the book. The characters were indeed interesting and quirky. The narrator had a perfect tone for this book. It was easy to listen to, no straining to understand slurred or low tones.

Some themes are slightly mature, so I would not recommend this book for kids under the age of ten. Although funny, many of the themes touched by the author are not to funny...like teen angst, inner city proverty, the effect of drug abuse on a family, greed. The author exposes these themes, without allowing them to diminish the enjoyability of the narrative, or dwelling on them so long that they become the main theme.

This book was so enjoyable, that after a 7 hour car ride, we sat in the parked car for another 10 minutes to finish the book before finally checking into our hotel room.

2 people found this helpful

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Great short read

The characters are realistic, I thought it was entertaining and enlightening. I'd like to read literature more like this.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Great work

Best book ever for everyone. Funny funny. My kids and husband have repeated this book more than ten time

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

Funny Book

Very funny book. We listened to it on a road trip and ages from 8 - 42 all enjoyed the characters and the story. There is some adult-type discussion at the very beginning (these are teenagers after all) but it was very minor and not a central part of the story.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

Great story

I love Christopher Paul Curtis' works, and Bucking the Sarge is a good example of why. The story keeps the reader guessing about what will happen next and it is fun to read/listen. The characters are drawn and developed as multi-faceted and even the least sympathetic have reasons for their behavior.

The narration contributed well to the story.

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