By Daniel Clay
Published in 2009 by Emblem Editions
Originally published in 2008
Finished reading: February 6th, 2010
Rating: 4 / 5
Skunk Cunningham’s world is a small one, populated by her family; her teachers and schoolmates; and her neighbours, the quiet Buckley family and the five terrifying Oswald girls and their thug of a father, Bob.
When Saskia Oswald, with her stilettos and tight pants, asks shy Rick Buckley for a ride in his new car, he can’t believe his luck. But after a quick fumble, Saskia broadcasts Rick’s deficiencies to anyone who will listen, including her younger sisters. This act of thoughtless cruelty will see Rick dragged off by the police, humiliated, and “broken,” —- and, in a tragic chain of events, will leave Skunk hanging on to her young life by a thread.
From her hospital bed, Skunk shows us her hapless father finding love, and her idealistic favourite teacher losing it; “Broken” Buckley spiralling into madness; and the Oswald clan coming apart at the seams. As we inch ever closer to the mystery behind her coma, Skunk’s innocence becomes a beacon by which we navigate a world as comic as it is tragic, and as engaging as it is finally uplifting.