Friday, November 18, 2016

The Firebug of Balrog County by David Oppegaard

The Firebug of Balrog County by David Oppegaard

I'm in love with a firebug. David Oppegaard's novel is set in a fictional small town in Minnesota. The main character is a high school senior named Mack who is grieving the loss of his mother to cancer. He feels the need to start fires and at first he starts out small but then things spiral out of control quickly like a rapid burning flame.  Mack has a great family and a interesting set of grandparents, all who are wounded and grieving. His grandpa is the mayor who is trying to catch the culprit who is setting fires and begins a cat and mouse game between the two of them.

The Firebug of Balrog County is a well-written novel that was a finalist for the Minnesota Book Award in 2016.  The story is told in short chapter bursts and full of wry wit and angsty humor.  You will fall in love with the main character and his family and even the small town. I was laughing and crying and rooting for Mack with all my heart.  Mack is charming and quirky and never been kissed and in desperate need of a girlfriend. In some ways Mack reminds me of Duckie form Pretty in Pink and David Oppegaard reminds me of a modern John Hughes.

The Firebug of Balrog County needs to get into the hands of teenage boys.
I would pair The Firebug with A.S. King's- Everybody Sees the Ants.

Go Beyond the book with this link:

Listen to a 4 min interview on Minnesota Public Radio of author, David Oppegaard.