* 14-year-old Burl Crow has a father who is violent. His mother struggles with mental illness. When he follows his father to his secret fishing spot he learns that his father is having an affair. Burl's cover is blown and his father beats him. As his father strikes blow after blow, a helicopter flies overhead, carrying a piano, distracting them both.
* Burl runs into the woods, relying on the skills of survival he learned from his brutal father. He discovers a man in a poorly outfitted cabin, with a piano. The man is composing. He's upset at his lost solitude but can see the bruises on Burl and allows him to stay. The rest of the journey for Burl is a long, tough one but the reader knows that Burl is made of tough stuff and will survive, one way or the other. The writing is beautiful and the story holds you to it to the end. (less)
* Burl, a boy whose family life is far from ideal or even decent, catches his abusive father in a secret tryst and proceeds to run away. In his flight from home he comes across Ghost Lake and a cabin, whose inhabitant is the world-famous pianist and highly eccentric Nathaniel Gow. The story follows Burl as he becomes attached to Gow's hideaway and then takes steps to secure the place for his own. In his efforts to start a new life, he comes to learn more about himself and the relationship (or lack thereof) he has with his father.
* This story is a bit slower, perhaps better read by an older teenager. This book makes you think, and I found myself thinking about the message and the point and the depth of the novel. It's not as fast of a read, but it's a quality read. The book is very well written, full of phrases and descriptions that make you stop and think.
* After discovering the secret lake spot where his abusive father meets with an extramarital lover, Burl runs away from home. After a HATCHET-like night surviving in the...