Book Review: Four Week Filthy Fest by P.A. Kernan

Four Week Filth Fest by P.A. Kernan is a children's chapter book that might hit home for many kids. Andy Baker is a forth grader that has always been a bit of a loner. He wanders from the outskirts of one crowd to another and typically does not say something unless he absolutely means it. One day Andy surprises everyone, including himself, when he makes a bold statement. He vows to refrain from baths, showers, and all ways to clean himself for four weeks. This is quickly dubbed the Four Week Filth Fest. Andy gains some friends and has some people vowing to make him fail. In the end Andy will make a big splash at camp, teach him something about friendship and himself, and provide an ending to the Four Week Filth Fest that will surprise everyone.

Four Week Filth Fest is a story most kids can relate to. Like most people, Andy is a little different. However, Andy does not seem to mind very much that he is a bit of an outsider. However, when his schoolyard challenge takes on a life of its own Andy faces the questions about being true to himself, keeping his word, and figuring out who his real friends are. None of these questions are those unique to Andy's situation. At some point we have all wondered just WHY someone is suddenly a friend- if it is a real friendship or something born of mischief or malice. Andy's insecurities are ones that most of us can relate to because of that. I liked that people, on both sides of the matter, seem to come out of the woodwork to voice their stance. I find that this happens in real life too, with people only noticing someone after a big thing or a unique position bring them to their attention. I liked Andy, and his family, are people and as characters. I thought many of his fellow students were well fleshed out and real to me as well.

I would recommend Four Week Filth Fest to middle grade readers and anyone that has felt like they have been wandering around the outskirts of a group like Andy. Since I think most everyone has been there, that means just about everyone. This is a coming of age story with humor, honest, and insight into not only finding ones place, but in being true to yourself.

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