Fighting Ruben Wolfe – Markus Zusak (10/52 books challenge)

I say, ‘Don’t lose your heart, Rube.’ And very clearly, without moving, my brother answers me. He says, ‘I’m not tryin’ to lose it, Cam. I’m tryin’ to find it.’

Fighting Ruben Wolfe

Second part of The Underdog, my first almost-disappointment with Markus Zusak. I wasn’t planning on reading this, but eventually I did for three reasons 1. It was short 2. I had it at home 3. I still love Markus Zusak.

And I’m glad I did read it.

Cameron and Ruben Wolfe live average lives in middle class family. Their father loses his job due to an accident he has, and money is tight, which touches them all. The brothers start to take part in “informal” boxing matches to make some money.

As much as it kills me to admit it, I actually loved a book about two boxing boys. It’s not about it being about boys – I loved Harry Potter and I Am a Messenger, both books having a boy for main protagonist. It’s more about boxing. Generally, I hate it. I do some kickboxing (in controlled environment of a gym), and I’m all for martial art and self-defense and all that, but boxing for real at a real ring with a real possibility of getting really hurt is a little out there for me. So, what is it about this book that I read it in one sitting and was sorry to be done?

(and it’s not that it was short).

It’s simple – it’s the magic of Markus Zusak. I can’t explain what it is about his books that make me feel so enchanted. His a master of words, and I say this with certainty regardless of my mixed feelings about his debut (The Underdog).

So, what is the book about? Not only about fighting, of course. The fights may begin as just a way of making money, but they turn out to be a way of fighting for themselves, for their identity, dignity, and courage. It’s about emotions put in simple way. It’s about how every average person can be and is extraordinary. It also has more plot and substance (in my opinion) that the first part and I am a little surprised to say I enjoyed the sequel better than the original – which I don’t think has ever happened to me before.

What more can I say? Just read it. Fall in love with Markus. Like I have.


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