When we first meet him, Chappie is a punked-out teenager living with his mother and abusive stepfather in an upstate New York trailer park. During this time, he slips into drugs and petty crime. Rejected by his parents, out of school and in trouble with the police, he claims for himself a new identity as a permanent outsider; he gets a crossed-bones tattoo on his arm, and takes the name "Bone."
He finds dangerous refuge with a group of biker-thieves, and then hides in the boarded-up summer house of a professor and his wife. He finally settles in an abandoned schoolbus with Rose, a child he rescues from a fast-talking pedophile. There Bone meets I-Man, an exiled Rastafarian, and together they begin a second adventure that takes the reader from Middle America to the ganja-growing mountains of Jamaica. It is an amazing journey of self-discovery through a world of magic, violence, betrayal and redemption.
In the tradition Huckleberry Finn and The Catcherin the Rye, Russell Banks’s quintessential novel of adisaffected homeless youth living on the edge of society “redefines theyoung modern anti-hero. . . . Rule of the Bone has its own culture andlanguage, and Bone is sure to become a beloved character for generations” (SanFrancisco Chronicle). Witha compelling, off-beat protagonist evocative of Holden Caulfield and QuentinColdwater, and a narrative voice that masterfully and naturally captures thenuances of a modern vernacular, Banks’s haunting and powerful novel is anindisputable—and unforgettable—modern classic.