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Elmer
Alanguilan, Gerry
Adult Fiction ALANGUI

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Jake Gallo is an angry young man, frustrated at his lack of employment and easily provoked by perceived slights. It is not until we are several pages into the book that we discover that he is also a talking, thinking chicken. He is no anomaly; decades earlier, all of chickenkind suddenly gained intelligence and speech; by the 2000s they are legally human. Jake's father's illness and subsequent death lead Jake to read his father's account of the early days after the change; this in turn allows Alanguilan to show the reader the often horrific sequence of events that followed chickenkind's sudden elevation to sapience. Used to seeing chickens as food or worse, humans are not shown at their best as they react, often violently, to this sudden alteration of the natural order. The gorgeous b&w art, full of lush pen work and strong expressions, takes what should be a self-evidently ludicrous proposition and somehow imbues it with plausibility, drawing readers into a brutal, blood-soaked tale of a transformed species and the outrage and savagery of their former owners. A peculiar but engaging work that deserves attention. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

From Library Journal:

Why did the chicken cross the road? Because he could. After chickens became intelligent from a freak virus, civil unrest among men and fowl reigned for far too long. But finally the birds were internationally declared fellow humans. Elmer was one of the pioneers who lived through the awakening. Dying, he bequeaths his diary to disaffected son Jake, who reads with growing fascination his father's story. As Jake struggles through understanding while sorting out interfamily tensions-with his grieving mother, nurse sister, and Hollywood star brother-he vows to publish Elmer's diary as a tribute to those who struggled toward freedom before his hatching. Not funny, Alanguilan's realistic, highly skilled black-and-white drawings suck you into this feather-clad race relations parable despite the internal dissonance it sets up. You want to find those chickens funny. But you can't-think Orwell's Animal Farm. VERDICT Originally self-published in the Philippines, where Alanguilan lives, this unusual and affecting story is bound to evoke what-if discussions. Strongly recommended for teens and up in classrooms as well as libraries. Violence, strong language, and occasional sexual references and nudity.-M.C. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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