Rule of the The Bone


Rule Of The Bone, written by Russell Banks, is a story told by a short fourteen year old
boy named Chappie, who endured a lot of pain and suffering. His father abandoned his
family when Chappie was five. When his mother remarried, he suffered from his
stepfather’s abuse. Both his mother and stepfather were alcoholics and completely
ignored him. To gain attention, Chappie got a Mohawk haircut, pierced his ears, and
sported a nose ring. As an escape, Chappie started using drugs and stole his mother’s
collection of valuable coins in order to pay for them. This totally infuriated his mother and
Chappie decided to leave home. Following this, Chappie lived in an apartment above a
video store with heavy metal bikers. A fire broke out, and Chappie left the apartment.
Next, Chappie and his friend Russ, camped out in an abandoned summer house. Chappie
eventually left and helped a young girl named Froggy escape from a drug addict and
porno movie maker named Buster Brown. Chappie and Froggy then met up with a
religious Jamaican named I-man. Chappie felt that I-man was his teacher in life. After
meeting I-man, Chappie decided to send Froggy back to her mother. Chappie then
followed I-man to Jamaica where they dealt drugs to tourists. In Jamaica, Chappie ran
into his real father who took him and I-man back to live at the “mothership”. At the
“mothership”, Chappie ended up losing his virginity to his father’s girlfriend. Finally,
I-man got killed, and Chappie became a part of a sea crew and set out on another voyage.
I think Rule Of The Bone is a great intriguing story. On one hand I could identify
and relate to this teenage boy and share some of his feelings. However, it made me
appreciate the security of growing up in a stable home with parents who truly care about
me. This book made me realize that I usually take all this for granted. However, I was
disappointed with the ending of the book; I thought that Chappie’s life was finally heading in the right direction. I was very wrong! Chappie’s whole life was miserable, and I feel that the author, Russell Banks, should have made a happy ending for Chappie. It was
disappointing to think that after all the hardships Chappie endured in his life, that he just
went off on a boat with no more direction or hope of finding happiness in his future. He
had been born into a family of troubles and could not escape it no matter how hard he
tried. The ending just made me disappointed.
I was extremely annoyed with Chappie’s mother when she chose to live with her
alcoholic, pervert of a husband over Chappie. I feel that this is outrageous that a mother
would not be absolutely ecstatic after finding her child who had been presumed dead. It is
also unbelievable that she would be unwilling to alter her lifestyle to accommodate her
own flesh and blood. The characters really didn’t lack personality, they were all different
which was intriguing. The plot was interesting, but I feel that Chappie had too rough of a
life.
Chappie gives great descriptions of characters, which made me envision the
characters without any difficulty. “But Buster Brown is a man of contrasts I guess, a guy
who at first glance seems to be taking care of a child that he later turns out to be doping
for his porn movies, a guy who wants to help kids who’re homeless and all that but also
wants to suck and fuck them too, a Christian in a Christian van who turns out to be a has
been actor with an English accent looking for kids to be proteges and turns out to be a
white guy who likes gangsta rap and manages a band and calls them niggers who turns out
to be a doper on speed or coke or maybe crack and turns out to be taking care of a poor
little homeless girl, and so on in a vicious circle like that.” (Page 138) Because Chappie
gives such great detail, it was very easy for me to comprehend what was going on in the
story.