The Bedwetter: Journal of a Budding Psychopath by Lee Allen Howard

★★★★   The Bedwetter: Journal of a Budding Psychopath by Lee Allen Howard tells the story of twenty-six-year-old Russell Pisarek, a deeply abused animal tech living in Pittsburgh with his younger sister and nephew. For years—even into high school—Russell had a problem wetting the bed, which his mother handled by forcing Russell’s father to shave his entire head. Now, the sadism Russell encountered as a boy has metastasized, molding him into a bitter young man whose taste for violence simmers just beneath the surface, waiting for an excuse to be let out. When Russell begins wetting the bed again and dark thoughts once more invade his mind, it seems that day may have finally come…

This will be a difficult book for many readers to get through, given its intense subject matter. Undoubtedly, some will say that its character, who utters pejoratives at nearly every turn and wishes violence upon women, animals, and the LGBTQ community, is an inappropriate narrative subject. But the fact is, this is a chilling, convincing look inside a disturbed individual’s mind. It feels a bit like Stephen King’s Carrie, both of which deal with deeply flawed offspring and seem to taunt the reader into deciding which character is the real villain, and which the victim. Does parental abuse justify—or at least logically result in—their children’s own mistakes? If so, can we truly blame them? Whatever their response, readers will be sure to have strong opinions. Ultimately, The Bedwetter is a bold, bloody tale of one young man’s journey to rectify self-perceived wrongs—no matter the cost.

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