My Vacation in Hell
My Vacation in Hell
My Vacation in Hell
My Vacation in Hell is a young adult dark fantasy. Set in the mid-1960s, it is a first person narrative by a 15-year-old writer named John Boggle. A troubled nerdy misfit and a frequent flyer of his imagination, John is inspired by a book report reading of Dante Alighieri's the Inferno. In the eternity of the five minutes before summer vacation, he embarks on a pilgrimage based upon his own free-wheeling interpretation of the work. Following Dante's lead, John populates his hell with all the people who have wronged him over the years, inventing deliciously cruel punishments for each of them in his teenage version of cosmic retribution. Aided by his best friend Virgil, a trusty guide in this shared imagination, John also struggles to come to terms with the world's many evils. And as he descends further into this realm, he constructs his own hierarchy of evildoers, assigning them to the levels he believes they deserve. But it is the evil perpetrated upon John, a victim of sexual abuse, which poses the most difficult challenge. The deeper he goes, the more he encounters obstacles, some of whom in the guise of colorful demon characters try their best to keep him there. But the worst obstacle of all is his own self-image, forged out of guilt and shame. He will not leave this hell of his own making, Virgil tells him, until he learns how to deal with the evil inflicted upon him and finds the true center of his being. Fortunately, he has other help besides the ever wise Virgil, who it turns out has a few problems of his own to deal with. John needs more than reason to get him through this, and divinely beautiful aid arrives in the form of Beth, an idealized version of his secret love. Rescuing the pair from the evil that threatens to consume them, she will guide John in the last stage of his spiritual odyssey. She shows him that there are even some good places in Hell, just as there is always some good, however slight, that comes from our worst experiences. Though disturbing at times due to its mature theme, My Vacation in Hell delivers a message of hope with a large dose of humor.

Book Details


  • Classic
  • Fantasy
  • Fiction
  • Humor

Age Level: 

  • 12 and up
To add your comments, login above or request a LitPick membership.