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Fighting Ruben Wolfe by Markus Zuzak

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Boom. 1 knockout. 2 knockouts. 3. Ruben Wolfe is a machine, a fighting, punching, and ravaging machine. He’s won $300 and gets all the ladies. Then why isn’t he happy? Over time he’s become harder, meaner, and quieter. Will he eventually stop completely? If you like comedy, action, and a bit of romance then Fighting Ruben Wolfe is the book for you. Markus Zuzak, an award winning writer, has written a fantastic book which all should read.
Fighting Ruben Wolfe begins with the two main characters at a dog race. Their names are Cameron and Ruben. After the race Sarah, the boy’s sister, comes home and you can see the less than perfect family characteristics at play. Things get interesting when someone at school calls Sarah a rude name and Ruben responds by beating him senseless. Later the boys get into a deal with a man named Perry because of the fight at school and become illegal boxers. Next you meet the boy’s older brother, Steve, who later leaves and it reveals some new things. Once Cameron’s boxing starts he is already stressed but after a conversation with an older boxer his stress grows as he steps into the ring. Will he get caught? Will he get hurt? You’ll have to read the book to learn the answers.
In Fighting Ruben Wolfe the point of view is from a boy named Cameron. I’m not particularly sure what race he is but from the words he uses and the way he speaks I gathered that he could be British. One of the commonly used phrases that lead me to this is that the characters use the term “y” like “Why’d y’ do that?” and “Where’s y’ stuff?” It makes the dialogue hard to understand but not impossible. Furthermore they use words like “tosser” and “clappers” (I have no idea what they mean) which makes me think they are British. Overall the dialogue may have been confusing but it added a cool feel to the book.

Even though I liked Fighting Ruben Wolfe there were definitely things I thought could be better if written differently. One of the things I disliked was the lack of scenery in the book. MZ did give some things that could help you visualize the scene but there wasn’t a very exact idea of the settings because he didn’t give you one. Next there is something I have mixed feelings on. It is the way MZ weaves reality into dreams. It is cool and makes the book interesting but can also be confusing. It is definitely a part I would keep but I might try and find a way to make it a little more reader friendly. Altogether these are the main things I thought could have been better in Fighting Ruben Wolfe.

Strength is not everything. That is the theme I got from Fighting Ruben Wolfe. This is the theme I got because the first two sentences were “ The dog we’re betting on looks more like a rat. ’But he can run like hell’ Rube says.” This makes me think that even though the dog is skinny and probably not very strong he can still run. So if they are betting on a dog more fast then strong it seems like my theme is true. But this isn’t the only reason I chose that theme. This is repeated throughout the book many times about Cameron and others. In conclusion, the theme statement I got from Fighting Ruben Wolfe is strength may be something, but it is not everything.

All in all, Fighting Ruben Wolfe, written by Markus Zuzak, is a fantastic book that all should read. Whether weaving reality together with dreams or describing each character with detail Markus will always manage to enthrall you with this story. As Cameron walks through fights, home and at the dog track you’ll learn more than you would think without them talking at all. But after all the kids have been through will their final fight be the last hurrah? After all your greatest enemy is yourself.





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