The King of FU by Benjamin Davis | Book Review

The King of FU book cover

The King of FU is a poetic memoir about a boy – a peculiar boy who describes himself as being covered in fur and with horns – who grows up in America in the 90s. It follows his upbringing from birth until middle school as he figures out his place the world and tries to understand what the fuck adults are all about and what it means to grow up. And it’s fabulous.

There’s so much humour in King of FU and yet it’s not a light read by any means. The author explores his childhood experiences of bullying, suicide, drug addiction, death, porn and so much more, and yet all of it is done with enough laugh-out-loud lines that it doesn’t become a drag – not be any means. It has the vibe of angsty teen, and yet it also has the kind of maturity that only comes with reflecting on the weirdness of childhood a little later in life, when enough time has passed that even the shittiest memories become funny if you look at them in the right way.

I loved the labels given to the different types of people encountered by the author, like white-gloved sheriffs (doctors), supervisors (parents) and prisoners (pets). It gave the tale a whimsy, childish quality that offset the darkest topics and filthy language, and it helped to draw me into a world that is totally unique to the author and yet wholly familiar to so many other nineties kids who grew up with similar lives.

The King of FU is illustrated by Nikita Klimov and the illustrations are a perfect addition to the memoir. They have a child-like and dream-like quality, and yet many have a dark, sinister edge which mirrors Benjamin Davis’ unique style brilliantly.

Ultimately, this is a clever, witty and captivating memoir that drew me right into its pages – wonderful.

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