Rated of 5
My favorite of the year
This might be my favorite book of 2008. I found it to be extremely original and very entertaining. The protagonist, Animal, is one of those fictional characters you wish you knew in real life and are reluctant to leave behind once completing the novel. He feels real. He's profane and uncouth, but with a heart of gold and an underlying wisdom that really draws the reader to him.
Unfortunately, this is a book that many people will reject after perusing the first couple of paragraphs, as its style, language and subject matter are radically different that what most readers expect from a novel; its pretty jarring at first. Eight of the twelve members of my book club absolutely hated the book initially, and wouldn't have completed it if they'd picked it up on their own. Eleven out of twelve of us loved it by its conclusion, though, and have been busily passing our copies on to our friends and relatives.