Review: Fuzzy Mud

July 6, 2015

book review

Fuzzy Mud coverFuzzy Mud
By Louis Sachar
Delacorte Books for Young Readers
August 2015
192 pages

Fifth grader Tamaya Dhilwaddi always walks home from school with seventh grader Marshall Walsh because her mom won’t let her walk home alone. At the end of one particularly irritating school day, Marshall takes a shortcut through the woods. Tamaya has no choice but to follow him. She stumbles and nearly falls into a puddle of yellowish-brown goo – “fuzzy mud.” But that’s the least of her worries as she discovers why Marshall has led her into the forest. Chad Hilligas, the school bully, is chasing him. When Chad catches up with them he pummels Marshall. Tamaya attacks Chad with a handful of fuzzy mud. She and Marshall run for their lives thinking that trouble is now behind them. But it is only the beginning. Tamaya breaks out in an ugly rash of blisters and Chad doesn’t show up for school the next day. Tamaya embarks on a mission to find Chad and is soon up to her eyeballs in an environmental catastrophe of global proportions.

As Tamaya’s predicament unfolds, Sachar infiltrates the mystery with transcripts of top-secret Senate committee hearings that reveal the origins of Biolene, a gasoline substitute made up of super-powered, man-made micro-organisms. In theory, Biolene is the solution to mankind’s insatiable energy thirst except for one caveat. Under less-than-controlled conditions, the micro-organisms have the potential to mutate and grow exponentially into a highly-contagious, lethal substance that Tamaya coined “fuzzy mud.” And she’s covered in it!

In his inimitable style, Sachar opens up a 21st century Pandora’s box that contains bullying, divorce, the energy crisis, overpopulation, bioengineering, bio-hazards, pandemic, and Hobson’s choice between two evils. Fuzzy Mud is a modern parable disguised as a fast-paced farce, easily devoured in one sitting.

Copyright (c) 2015 by Peggy Tibbetts

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