The King of FU

Young Adult - Coming of Age
146 Pages
Reviewed on 10/11/2018
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Benjamin Davis writes a culture column (Conversations with Russians) for Russia Beyond the Headlines. He has been living in Saint Petersburg, Russia for three years where he worked to create the Flash-365 project writing one story every day for a year with illustrations by Nikita Klimov. His stories and essays can be found in Defenestration, Cease, Cows, Human Parts, Three Drops Press, and others. Connect with him at

    Book Review

Reviewed by Maria Beltran for Readers' Favorite

The King of FU, written by Benjamin Davis and wonderfully illustrated by Nikita Klimov, is a coming of age novel that belongs to a class all its own. This is a memoir written somewhat like a modern epic poem and is divided into three parts. Umbilical Cords, the first chapter, deals with the author's birth and early memories. The second chapter relates his 1990s childhood in the United States of America while the last chapter is on his adolescence when he "trains" to be an adult. This little boy is raised by a career oriented single mother and he certainly is not lacking in mischief and imagination. Enrolled in a Catholic school for middle school, he is introduced to pot, girls and more pot, as he tries to solve the mysteries of life.

Benjamin Davis' The King of FU is not your usual memoir and it unravels inside his mother's womb, literally and figuratively. It is absolutely a curious and highly interesting read, from beginning to end. Growing up on the threshold of a technological revolution, the King of FU journeys through life as a very confused adolescent boy at a time when even adults seem to be as confused. And here, in a magically realistic and poetic way, readers can join him on his journey, and it is definitely an exhilarating ride. Dark, creative, sarcastic, edgy and playful, Benjamin Davis' creative writing style is unique and Nikita Klimov's illustrations are a perfect fit to a story that reveals the answer to one of life's greatest mysteries.

Kayti Nika Raet

The King of FU, written by Benjamin Davis and illustrated by Nikita Klimov, is a poetic memoir with a dash of magical realism and a dark sense of humor. Centered around growing up in America in the nineties, just on the edge of the 2000's, Davis chronicles his childhood straddling the rough and tumble outdoors and the wilds of the digital age. A tale of growing up that questions the world of grown ups as well as the trials and tribulations of childhood. In a unique and engaging narrative, Davis uses a minimalist approach, one that manages to capture the essence of his thoughts and convey them to the reader without weighing them down in torrents of florid prose. Paired with Klimov's whimsical illustrations, The King of FU makes for a superb memoir.

In The King of FU, Benjamin Davis has managed to create a simple yet riveting memoir that is sure to sit with the reader long after they have finished the last page. While whimsical, The King of FU also touches on darker subjects like abuse and suicide. Through his younger self he gives a glimpse of childhood on the cusp of digital technology. Klimov's illustrations fit in well with the text, giving everything a child-like and imaginative flair that pairs well with the magical realism steeped throughout the text and provides a fun counterpart to some of the more darker elements. I enjoyed every passage and feel that The King of FU by Benjamin Davis would be great for readers looking to step away from the traditional memoir format and also those looking for a 90's nostalgia trip.

Faridah Nassozi

In The King of FU by Benjamin Davis, the author narrates his story from birth through early days as an observant and mischievous child, through the different stages of growing up into young adulthood. In an attempt to have some sense of control in his life, Benjamin created an alternative world where he was the boss and things happened more on his terms. The King of FU is not your ordinary memoir. The King of FU is a hilarious narration of life as seen through a young boy's eyes. His unconventional and amusing narration will have you hanging on to every word from start to finish. I had several "huh?" and a few "ewww" moments but these were often followed by laughter. The ultimate beauty of this book is in the language and writing style used and the fusion of his real world with that created out of his imagination. Benjamin's exceptional wordplay will have you glued to the pages.

I knew right away that this was not going to be an ordinary read and I am happy it did not disappoint. Every detail in the book is fascinating including the chapter titles, which will fill you with intrigue about what to expect with the images adding a layer of mystery. There was also a certain sense of equality that I felt through the story, emanating from the fact that he took away the basic identities of all the characters by referring to them primarily as 'it'. This, in a way, made every character important without taking the spotlight away from the pivotal characters. Benjamin Davis created such a surreal and yet very relatable read.