What a grimy, unpleasant book. Excuse me while I dramatically wash my hands of it now that I'm done with it.Okay. So. The Scarecrow isn't a bad book, but there was a lot I didn't like about it. I suppose what muddied my enjoyment of it the most was the book's skeevy preoccupation (not to mention the protagonist's preoccupation) with the sex life of the protagonist's 16 year old sister Prudence. For me, Prudence was the only character worth giving a toss about, as the rest were too one-dimensional or unlikeable. Or both! The protagonist had his moments, but the scenario closer to the beginning that almost led to a Kite-Runner moment pretty much soured me on him for the rest of the book. Actually, I'm sure it would have been a worse situation than in that book, since 1) Ned knew what was going to happen (seriously, what a bastard), and 2) he would no doubt have been on the receiving end of it as well had it happened. Reading the book was also kind of unpleasant. It felt like a fever dream at times. It's hard to describe, but a lot of the events that Ned (Neddy, Eddy, whatever) recounts just seemed to mush into each other. Maybe that was my brain trying to process the book faster so that I could be done with it.But really, it's not without redeeming aspects. The titular scarecrow had a great aura of creepiness about him, and the Lynch gang that torments Ned and his cohorts were kinda terrifying as well. They reminded me of this gang of boys that me and a friend happened upon one weekend while walking through the local primary school. Actually, we met the "leader's" uncle first. He told my friend "*Nephew's name* would love you" in an awful, leery, knowing voice that bewildered my friend and I then and still creeps me out now. We edged away from the creepy man but further into the school we happened upon a gang of boys probably 4 or 3 years younger than us, who surrounded us and kept trying to touch my friend's arse. We were semi-amused, but weirded out enough to head home, and the boys proceeded to chase us along the street, still trying to slap my friend's arse. Now, those boys weren't on the same level as the Lynch gang, of course. They were more like a proto Lynch gang. I forget where I was going with this anecdote. I guess my point will now be that boys had a creepy sense of entitlement back then and, duh, they still do now. Even the good guys in this book have that creepy sense of entitlement to intrude upon girls. It was weird. But not surprising.2 1/2 stars.