I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Ruffleclaw by Cornelia Funke
Published by Random House on November 10th 2015
Genres: Middle Grade
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Ruffleclaw is a furry red monster who lives in a burrow under a toolshed. When he decides to move in with a family of humans, he climbs right into bed with a boy named Tommy. Tommy wants to keep Ruffleclaw as a pet, but it won't be easy. Ruffleclaw makes huge messes-he spits, he drinks shampoo, and he eats everything in the fridge…along with the plates! Can Tommy teach his monster to behave?
Let’s talk about this book.
Well, I’d actually rather not talk about it but that defeats the purpose of a review so review it we shall.
I’m sure there are (strange) people in this world who will find that this book speaks to their sense of humour but I, unfortunately, am not one of them. I found the protagonist, the titular Ruffleclaw, to be unpleasant. Okay, unpleasant is a far milder word than what I think of him. I found him…vile. I’m Canadian so I feel like I should apologise for the way he made me feel but you know what? I don’t want to.
Ruffleclaw is an earth monster who lives in a burrow and has dreams of living in a house as humans do because he has designs on their food and the comfort of their living space. So he moves in with (the very generically named) Tommy, the human under whose parents’ shed he has a burrow. Now Tommy is less than pleased by the pink monster who is sleeping in his bed, eating his food and behaving like a drunk hippo at tea party. He is uncouth and entitled and seems to think that Tommy owes him something. He destroys Tommy’s property, gets him in trouble, and is kicked out by Tommy’s mother when she discovers him.
I’d be celebrating the monster’s departure day and night but Tommy actually…misses him?
Tommy needs a lot of therapy apparently.
SO! Tommy, after manipulating his mother like a monster child, goes to ask/beg/cajole Ruffleclaw into coming back to live with him, tin of dried worms and all. Erm. Maybe he thinks he can (like all Harlequin novels insist a good woman can do) redeem the rogue. Things happen and there’s a happy ending but I was snorting and nauseous long before it was reached.
Okay, I’m sure this book will be liked/loved/kept in forever glory by some people but I did not like it. At all.
Mostly because I found it gross and found Ruffleclaw to be the least sympathetic, interesting protagonist I have had the misfortune to read. Because seriously, eugh. But another thing that I, as an adult, could not get over was the post-colonial reading of the text that I couldn’t help but do. I mean, think about it. You are living your life happily in your land and then along come invaders invading, destroying your livelihood, eating your food, and generally making a nuisance of themselves. They are finally evicted and you get your land back, damaged but intact.
And then what? You’re supposed to miss them? Bring them back and let them continue to wreak their havoc?
Yeah no. The subtext sucked. A lot.
I can’t recommend this, you guys. I know Funke has a huge following and I liked her Inkworld series enough that I considered reading it but this one ensured that I give similar titles by her a wide berth. Because Ruffleclaw, y’noe? If I want a monster, I’ll watch Monster’s Inc. (for the hundredth time) (cuz my niece watches it like it’s a religion).
That’s all folks.