The Serpent King is a book written by Jeff Zentner. But nobody cares about that so let’s just get into this post.
Jeff “His Majesty” Zentner Interview
Me: On a scale of one-to-awesome, how fun is writing?
Jeff: Awesome when you know what you want to write. 1 when you don’t.
Me: How do you cope with writer’s block?
Jeff: I try to make myself bored. Boredom is the mother of imagination. My method is to go on long walks.
Me: What’s your method for proofreading your work?
Jeff: I read it out loud to myself. I hear more mistakes than I see.
Me: Favorite meal for breakfast?
Jeff: Cracker Barrel blueberry pancakes.
Why I Read The Serpent King
My ELA teacher apparently likes His Majesty because he’s a “total package.” (A classmate’s words, not mine.)
Fun Fact: He has eleven tattoos.
The Serpent King was assigned to me as a summer assignment and I read it out of obligation. However, I ended up liking it anyways.
In order to help summarize the story for everyone who has already read a good summary (or the book itself), I’ll just use some MsPaint pictures to quickly go over some key plot points.
The story begins with Dillard Early Junior, son of Dillard Early Senior who is the son of yet another Dillard Early. It’s pretty confusing, but just roll with it.
Anyways, Dill Senior is a pedo priest who is incarcerated because he had some child porn on his laptop. Dill Junior didn’t take the hit for him in court so Dill Senior was rightfully imprisoned.
Unfortunately, D.J. (Dillard Junior) is outcast at school and hates his abusive mother, is envious of his friend Lydia’s life, and is haunted by his family name. As you can tell, his life is filled with sunshine and rainbows.
After winning a shitty school talent show with his rad guitar skills, D.J. wins $50 bucks and plans out his future with Travis (also his friend.) Although, this is not in a romantic way or anything, they just want to pay each other’s rent and provide enough support for each other so that they can escape their families.
However, Travis gets killed in a failed mugging and all these plans go down the drain.
Anyways, Dill, already being in a very awful environment, decides to end his life as survivor’s guilt wracks his soul and grief consumes all sense and emotion he has left.
But just before he jumps off the bridge and ends the story with a bunch of unsatisfied readers, he finds strength in his other non-dead friend, Lydia.
Wanting to escape the shitty town of Forrestville and its equally shitty inhabitants, Dill lets Lydia push him forward in life into a college. Not exactly perfect, but Lydia is a busy person and she needs to go to a prestigious college as soon as she wraps up Dill’s life to ensure he doesn’t jump off any bridges behind her back.
After that, Lydia goes off to the big city to do her thing there and Dill has a new beginning in college. It’s one of the most tear-jerking moments of the story because we never know if Dill really lost his virginity.
The story is good. Review done.
You should go buy it to support His Majesty’s career.
As you have probably noticed, I have been calling Jeff Zentner “His Majesty” throughout this entire post, and for a good reason.
Themes and Lessons I Learned
Take risks to grow as a person
Don’t apply for college at the last second.
Don’t try to lose your virginity with one of your best friends right before they leave your life and go to a faraway college.
Selling firewood in Forrestville is a dangerous activity.
Try not to jump off bridges.
If you feel like you’ll never be happy again you should try to avoid bridges until it wears off.
If your friend runs a thriving feminism blog you should abuse their fame to grow your own YouTube channel filled with videos of you playing guitar.
When making plans for the future try to avoid dying right after you make them because that shows how little commitment you have.
Don’t park your Tesla on a steep hill or else the door will get jammed.
Always disconnect the garbage disposal thing before cleaning it out.
North Korea currently is not a good place to go for vacation.