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the jones family
5.0 out of 5 starsGreat book
Reviewed in the United States on November 4, 2018
It was written with a sense of humor and from a boy’s point of view. It was a fun read and not too long.
Suspenseful. The best of the horror genre, without the horror.
Not very Christmas-y.
Know your child, and PRE-READ, before you give them this book. This is an odd book; a boy is hunted by the exterminator.
A couple of parenting points:
Point #1) The child in this book gets tricked into making a vow to help an exterminator kill all rats (but one in particular) -- "so help me, God." Seriously, the 11-year-old child makes this vow, at the prodding of the exterminator. (As a parent, I'm glad this book presents the possible negative consequences of swearing a vow in God's name.)
Point #2) The exterminator, Anjel Gabrial, is well written. From the beginning, you don't know whether to trust or not to trust him, and the story does not answer that question.
Point #3) Avi does one of my pet peeves -- he makes an ex-military person out to be the bad guy/weirdo/psycho death-obsessed person. "See, kid, I was in the military... Trained to kill... The works. You name it.... I was good at it, too... Didn't take me long to figure out that unless I found a job which would let me kill -- legal-like -- I'd be in trouble. So I got me a job as an exterminator...Hey, I like killing things..." (p.15)
If this were all that there was in the book, I would give it a one-star-ranking. But the book is so well-written -- suspenseful without bloodshed, and open-ended -- and the characterization of Eric (the child) is so complete, that I think it's a great book. A memorable message about not letting yourself become bored with life, that life is precious. So I *do* recommend it, as long as parents know what they are getting.
Reviewed in the United States on December 11, 2002
The book I read was The Christmas Rat,Eric wasthe main character in this story.The biggest problem in this story is that Anje[Anjela] is trying to kill Eric's little furry friend.Eric lived in a nice apartment but suddenly his apartment gets disrupted by Anje.Every living rodent and insect in his apartment is destroyed except for the christmas rat.My favorite part in this book was when Eric's dad found out that Anje wasn't apart of the exterminating buisness.And that's when Anje Wanted to watch the rodent die.This was a very good book and was writtenby a very good author,Avy.
Avi uses a character that, by his own explanation at the end of the book, is an amalgam of The Angel Gabriel from various cultural representations, to be a dark, demented rat exterminator! This is a confusing tale from many aspects. The rat exterminator enlists the help of a young boy to help him kill a rat in the boy's home during the Christmas holidays. The boy eventually decides to switch sides in the battle, despite a death threat from the angel and becomes the hunted!?!
Reviewed in the United States on September 28, 2000
Who else but creative genius Avi could craft such a spellbinding story with only a very average middle-schooler, an exterminator and a rat? In this harrowing tale, a young boy and an exterminator join forces to hunt down a rat which has been plaguing the child's apartment building. Engaged in a seek and destroy mission, Anjela Gabrail, aka The Angel Gabriel, enlists the boy to help oppose the rat, "or pay the penalty...So help me God." When the boy decides, however, that he would prefer to let the rat live, Anje turns on him. In a dark twist, the hunter becomes the hunted. Anje has a crossbow. Eric's in the dark. And it's Christmas. As an intellectual exercise for adults, The Christmas Rat receives my highest honors. As a lesson for budding adolescents, it is a compelling reminder Never Ever to talk to strangers. This book is recommended for readers ages nine to twelve - rest assured, not one will come away from this book untouched. For me only one aching questions remains: Why couldn't the boy tell his parents?
1.0 out of 5 starsReally weird and kind of creepy.
Reviewed in the United States on April 23, 2013
I found this book and saw the word "rat" in the title and instantly picked it up. I have some pet rats so I was really exited. I started reading this book and it began kind of weird. I could not finish it. What I read was strange and ominous and I just could not finish it. I read the last pages though and it looks like it has a okay ending to it but I do not recommend it. Especially to rat lovers.