"This was such a unique read; I really enjoyed reading this book. Whether you’re a 90s kid or not, if you’re looking for a unique and entertaining read, then I highly recommend this book."
"A nihilistic poetic remembrance that will appeal most to older teens and 20-somethings."
"The King of FU, written by Benjamin Davis and wonderfully illustrated by Nikita Klimov, is a coming of age novel that belongs to a class all its own."
"Let me tell you, I read this in one sitting and I laughed all the way from the first page to the last. It was only after I finished that I realized that a lot of what I'd just read was actually very sad. But even with that, I really enjoyed this book! Given the opportunity, I can get really into magical realism, and I loved the combination of Ben's writing and Nikita Klimov's illustrations."
"Like Klimov’s bold illustrations, The King of Fu is a vivid look at what it means to be an adult, and Davis does so with a great sense of humor."
"In the early years of the 20th century, a group of Russian dudes came up with the concept of defamiliarization. In simple terms, it was the presentation of a literary text in a strange or unfamiliar way, often using language or literary devices to “enhance the perception of the familiar." What do a group of old Russian dudes have to do with The King of FU? Everything, actually."
"IF I WERE TO DESCRIBE THIS BOOK IN TWO WORDS, I WOULD SAY: ENTERTAINING AND HONEST. If you want to write a memoir that is not boring, this is how you do it."
THE KING OF FU
By Benjamin Davis
Illustrated by Nikita Klimov
Sturbridge native Benjamin Davis, a 2012 graduate of the University of Massachusetts Amherst, now lives in St. Petersburg, Russia, where, according to his website, he works variously as a freelance editor, tech-journalist, “native-speaking-content-monkey, and social media manager for English speaking markets.”
And “to cope with the sterility of corporate writing,” he adds, “my fiction sometimes gets a little out of hand.”
Thus we have “The King of Fu,” Davis’ coming-of-age story as extended free verse poem, in which he writes of growing up in the 1990s and early 2000s, all through the lens of an absurdist and satirist.
For instance, there’s the account of how, when he was in the Boy Scouts (“a group of males who like to dress up and play together sometimes in the woods”), he cut down a tree with his pocketknife for firewood, horrifying The Scoutmaster.
Davis’ response: “I quit Boy Scouts / the next day / they didn’t make sense / That set a paradigm / for my relationship / With nature.”
In the end, Davis writes that his story is about navigating many things — family strife, bullies, problems with authority, sex, drugs, middle school — to answer “one of life’s greatest mysteries: What is the point of adults?”