You Don’t Know About Me is a YA contemporary reimagining of Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Brian Meehl.
Billy Allbright has spent the entire sixteen years of his life on the move with his mother. They’ve never stayed in one place very long as she is constantly either on the run from authorities who aren’t too pleased she’s defaced a store (or replace with another establishment) in the name of removing the Devil or running towards a new destination that she believes needs their services of cleansing.
Having always been home-schooled and involved in this lifestyle, Billy is sheltered and knows very little about the way others live. But when Billy receives a fancy Bible in the mail it contains more than the story of Christ’s resurrection – it also contains knowledge that his mother has been lying about his father, whom he never met, being dead.
Finding out about his mother’s deception throws Billy into a tailspin, and he makes the decision to ditch the Bible camp he’s supposed to be going to in favor of his own, unscheduled road trip to find his dad. But his road trip is far from point A to point B as he meets a runaway baseball star, nudists, a girl with neon body parts, and unnaturally zealous group of aspiring movie makers.
Suddenly Billy’s trip to find his dad has mutated into a journey of self-discovery – though it’d be nice if he could get to his dad eventually…
You Don’t Know About Me is an ambitious coming-of-age retelling but, sadly, it fell flat for me. It was overly wordy and self-important, I felt, and lacked insightfulness and cohesive plotting. I really stress that this is only one gal’s opinion – I’m sure there are numerous people who will love/like You Don’t Know About Me.
For my own personal tastes, the novel’s theology and philosophy dialogue was excessive, uninteresting, and oftentimes hypocritical, blasphemous, heavy-handed, and offensive. I very much appreciate the author’s intent – it’s clear that he meant well in You Don’t Know About Me. He was trying to tell a story of tolerance in a humorous, meaningful way. It just happened to rub me the wrong way and overall not be my kind of book – that happens!
I think You Don’t Know About Me is a bit of a polarizing novel – and I encourage you to read it. I believe it’ll arouse a passionate response one way or another, and I’d love to hear it!