Book Review: The Madman of Piney Woods

The Madman of Piney Woods by Christopher Paul Curtis.

madman of piney woods

Published by Scholastic Press in 2014.

Benji lives in Buxton, Ontario. Red lives in Chatam, Ontario. In between their two towns is the Piney Woods. A mysterious man lives in the woods. Some folks know him as the “South Buxton Lion Man,” others know him as “the Madman of Piney Woods.”

Red lives with his father who is a judge, and his grandmother who immigrated from Ireland. His goal is to become a scientist.

Benji lives with his parents, and siblings Patience and Stubby. Benji loves exploring in the woods and wants to become a newspaper reporter.

The boys keep having interactions with the “Madman of Piney Woods.” Until tragedy strikes in the forest.

Overall, I enjoyed this book more than I thought I would have. Christopher Paul Curtis has a way with writing and character development.

Memorable Quotes:

“The old soldiers say you never hear the bullet that kills you. They say that as if there’s some comfort in those words.” (pg 3)

“Our memories are always in the process of falling apart; they’re constatnly fading. Keep that in mind when people tell you about the past. Your friends aren’t necessarily being malicious or trying to frighten or decieve you. They’re probably doing their best to recall, but even the sharpest memory becomes more unreliable with the passage of time.” (pg 91)

“The woods are like a pond: Nothing can go throught them without leaving ripples; you only have to be able to read the ripples to know what has moved.” (pg 94)

“It’s the same twenty six leters, taught to most of us, but only a few can make those letters fall into words and do tricks and lift bricks and move mountains.” (pg 119)

“The spoken word allows for more room for the magician, a lot more space for flash and distraction and deception. As writers, we cannot afford to do that. We need to be bold and allow the truth to shield us.” (pg 162)

“There was no stopping this.  In the same manner that water in the Niagara River gets to a certain point and its fate is sealed, the Madman was unstoppable in pulling us into his nightmare.” (pg 182)


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