The Book Reviews – Website

April 2, 2008

Rats Saw God

Rats Saw God

Author: Rob Thomas

Page Length: 202

Reading Level: 6

REVIEW: This is the story of a high school senior, Steve York, who is called to the counselor’s (Mr. DeMouy) office to discuss how Steve, an underachieving merit scholar, can make up an English grade he failed his junior year in high school. Steve lives in San Diego with his newly remarried mom and sister. He has received a possession and three under the influence citations since the beginning of his senior year.  But Mr. DeMouy, a 30 year old counselor, wants to give Steve a second chance.  He tells Steve he can make up the failing grade by writing a 100 page essay.  He promises Steve no one else will read the essay but him.  Steve decides to take the challenge and titles his essay, “Roads Scholar”.   

The story begins in Houston, the summer after Steve’s sophomore year in high school. Steve is living with his father while his mom and sister move to San Diego after their divorce.  The book is written in two settings.  The first is Steve’s essay, a recollection of the past three years; the second is Steve’s present life, a senior in San Diego.   

Through Steve’s essay, the reader becomes familiar with the strained relationship Steve has with his father. Steve dons large hooped earrings and a bandana in an act of deviance to his Vietnam vet and astronaut father.   He admits loathing his dad as he states on page 110, “ is in better shape than me, buys American, watches CNN nonstop, drinks bottled water, reads the entire newspaper, works 16 hours a day, and has never air-guitared the Rolling Stones.”  The essay also describes the formation of the “Grace Order of Dadaists,” a club Steve and an obscure group of students charter at the high school.  From this group, Steve experiences his first love and loss of virginity.  

As Steve works through these memories in his writing, he works through feelings and relationships he has experienced.  He has both rewards and disappointments.  However, in writing about his past, Steve realizes where he needs to go and what he needs to do. 

I enjoyed this book immensely.  What I thought started off slowly, gripped my attention and I completed the book on an airplane ride to San Diego. 

TOUCHY AREAS-PAGES: The book has mature content about drugs and sex.  On pages 150-154 is a graphic picture of Steve’s first sexual experience.  It is not inappropriate for mature high school students but teachers should be aware of it. I would suggest this book for junior and senior students and any adults in the education field. 



REVIEWED BY: Shirley Wagner

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