By Chad Lutzke
Published in 2018, Skullface Boy is the epitome of blended literary genres, encompassing horror and gothic fiction, to coming of age, with a constant undertone of autobiographical fiction elements. Similar to J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, Skullface Boy evoked emotions and themes around isolation, freedom, and adolescence.
Born with a skull for a face, sixteen-year-old Levi runs away from his foster home to make the journey to find a man he’s been told is just like him; possessing a skull for a face. The reader follows Levi on his quest, a quest that promises the unexpected and encountering people of all walks of life. Like Levi, the reader is living a life on the road in this story. Lutze transports the reader into a world of nostalgia, one that forces the reader to look back and remember adolescence and what it means to look different and be different.
If you choose to follow Levi, to be a fly on the wall as he discovers people and places along the way, you won’t be disappointed. The blending of horror, coming of age, and autobiographical fiction is done so well, leaving enough room for each element to work together to create a story that feels genuine. It works because you can feel Lutzke’s heart and soul in this book.
Lastly, if you’ve ever experienced isolation, being different, or misunderstood, Chad Lutzke says it himself in the dedication; this book is for you. It was the moment I read this that I knew I was going to love this book, that it was for me, the teenage punk rocker runaway that I once was and that always has a place in my soul.
The dedication reads:
“Dedicated to the bullied, the parentless and the unique. May the shallow assholes one day envy you.”
Review by: Stephanie (Sterp) Evelyn