So I see the title and of course I’ve gotta know: What do they serve at abused werewolf rescue group meetings? Lots of bloody meat to restore the werewolves to health after the abuse, which surely had to include starvation? Or are these more AA-type meetings, serving only veggie platters and clear fluids to clean the werewolves up, flush their systems, and get them ready to mainstream into society?
Well, I had to wait a long time to find out. To find any food at all, really. Readers first meet the 13-year-old Australian hero, Toby Vandevelde, as he’s waking up in a hospital after being inexplicably discovered naked and bruised in the dingo pen of the local wildlife preserve. He’s short on details, remembering nothing of the night before, but I figure he’s gotta give a play-by-play reaction as he picks through the hospital food they serve him for dinner. But he just says, “the food was lousy.” Come on! No tiny, shriveled, alien-head peas? No mystery meat drowning beneath mud-blood? And the next day’s breakfast – same thing. Or same nothing, I guess.
So Toby finally leaves the hospital, arrives home, and promptly orders his favorite dinner – Chinese takeaway. Yum! What could it be? General Tso’s Chicken? Pepper Steak? Crab Rangoon? Because that’s what I’d get, and I know a 13-year-old boy who’s been poorly fed for 2 days can burn through a takeout menu like nobody’s business. But apparently the author feels it actually is nobody’s business what he ordered, because she sure didn’t give it up.
Just when I’m starting to feel starved, abused, and ready to trade the book for a take-out menu of my own, Toby gets into a bad situation, ending up in a run-down shack in the middle of the outback where he and his cohorts have to make a meal out of “milkless coffee, corn chips, pickles, diet cola, and fifteen slices of heavily buttered toast.” Which, I have to say, doesn’t sound all that terrible, especially since we don’t have any real repasts in his past to compare it with. And I know I’ve made do with worse in my life, like the time during hurricane season when the power was out for a couple days and we’d eaten out “the box” during the last one and never restocked it.
But this isn’t about me and my poor planning; let’s get back to Toby, in the shack, with his non-meal meal, trapped in a feral circle of criminals, wild dogs, and werewolves, including Danny, the wildest of all the beasts…who pulls out a bag of kangaroo jerky. Hello, mate; now you’ve got my attention! And then will subsequently lose it, as I have to stop reading and Google that fun new delicacy :), which turns out to be more of a tourist-buy than a local staple. Oh, and a DOG TREAT. Nicely done, Jinks. Your foodfic may’ve been small, but it was meaty. Oops, I mean mighty. :)