Eagan author entertains with ‘Anteater Boy’
High school isn’t easy for freshman Zak Dale. He’s invisible to most of his classmates, especially the popular students, until one fateful day.
The timeless story of adolescent strife is presented by Eagan resident Dean Ammerman in his recently published book, “Anteater Boy.”
“My hope is that my readers have some fun,” Ammerman said. “I hope they can feel better about trusting in themselves after reading the book.”
The 55-year-old decided to write the novel after searching for an uplifting coming-of-age story.
“A lot of them are depressing, so I decided to create one myself,” he said.
As Ammerman’s character, Zak, attempts to define himself and attract the attention of a popular girl, he runs into trouble, including one incident that causes the school to close for the afternoon. Along the way, a teacher makes a meaningful impression on the teenager.
Ammerman said he didn’t plot the book out ahead of time, and instead let the story lead the way.
“It was much like reading it myself,” he said.
Ammerman spent about seven years writing the book, and didn’t tell anyone about it until publishing “Anteater Boy” in November under his marketing and communications firm, Kabloona.
“When you tell people you are writing a book, they ask you about it and put pressure on it,” he said. “I wanted to put my own pressure on it.”
Since the book’s release, Ammerman has sold about 150 copies and has received rave reviews from area media and bloggers.
Mary Ann Grossman of the Pioneer Press added the book to her list of “Spring break reading that will make kids laugh and think.”
“The scene in which they accidentally break an old jar holding a sheep’s brain, and how they cover their tracks (think marshmallows), is hilarious,” Grossman wrote in her March 4 review.
Kirkus Reviews, a magazine that provides reviews of recently published books, also had good things to say about “Anteater Boy.” Its Jan. 15 review called the novel a “fast and engaging read.”
“Though it’s a tad formulaic, the story is a winning one and should resonate with students who are tired of wizards and vampires,” the review stated.
Kirkus had a few criticisms, too. It described the book’s transitions as “a bit jarring” and said the book contained “a few unresolved issues.”
In addition to receiving positive reviews, Ammerman’s book was nominated for several awards. “Anteater Boy” took second place in the Independent Publishers’s young adult fiction category.
It was nominated for the 2012 Minnesota Book Award, but didn’t make it as a finalist.
“Anteater Boy” is available at amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com and Ammerman’s website, anteaterboy.com.
Ammerman also sent about 100 copies to local middle school libraries.
Although it won’t be a sequel to “Anteater Boy,” Ammerman said he would like to write another book in the future.