Monday, March 29, 2010

What I'm Reading Now: Fighting Ruben Wolfe

This post should be titled: What I got up at 6:00 this morning to finish reading and will now be thinking about all day.

After closing the cover, I sat staring at the screen over at Goodreads, trying not to embarrass myself by gushing yet again about a Zusak book.

Fighting Ruben Wolfe is about brothers, boxing (which you know I have a fascination with), pride, winning, losing, fighting. And it reads like poetry.

I finally wrote this:

A lean novel that doesn't swagger or swing blunt punches; I loved it from the dog races to the one-gloved fights to the awkward, longing-filled bouts of not-talking with girls. The family is imperfect but loving; the bond between the brothers exquisitely written; and the theme of struggling to be a worthy person is a non-sentimental lifeline to anyone dealing with rough blows in life. Highly recommended for teens, even reluctant readers.

Zusak's writing makes me want to get up again, and try harder.


  1. When I learned who my first editor was, I read this book - because she'd just edited it. And I was humbled and floored and scared and hopeful and thought, "Wow, I've got to learn how to do that."

  2. my absolute favorite Zusak book is Getting the Girl (which I believe is the sequel to Fighting Ruben Wolfe). I bought it for my guy friends, passed it to my girlfriends and made sure everyone possible in my life had read it. It just filled my heart.

  3. Zusak is amazing. I heard him speak at an SCBWI event a few years ago in Munich, and he's just as nice and down to earth as his writing is brilliant.

    I've only read THE BOOK THIEF and I AM THE MESSENGER...I'll have to put this one on my list.

  4. Tanita: Yeah. Scared, humble, hopeful. All that.

    MissKate: Getting the Girl is the next Zusak read on my list. I want to let this book fully sink in, though, and give it some space before I start a new one. I always end up crying but strangely euphoric after reading his work.

    Natalie, Fighting Ruben Wolfe is so much sparer than The Book Thief and I am the Messenger, but just as powerful. I read a library copy, but now I want my own. I thought it was coming back in print, but it looks like a UK re-issue for now. Of course, used paperbacks are floating around, but I'd like a hardback. Oh, yeah, and a signed one! That too. I'm jealous that you got to hear him speak.

  5. Dear Sara,

    I, too, am awed by Zusak...I own this book in hardback (not to make you jealous or anything)...a happy find on Alibris or Amazon (can't remember which!). He is something else, for sure. Glad you had the experience of Ruben and Co.--glad to know we are members of the "I Love Zusak" club--for life!


    Portia Pennington

  6. Jules, it's only new to me. It was first published in 1999. I guess I wasn't paying attention then. :)


R-E-S-P-E-C-T (or you will be deleted)

You can receive followup comments to this conversation by checking the "notify me" box below the comment window.