Years ago, the first time I tried to read this book, I gave up. It took some effort but I managed to get deeper into the book on second try, and was rewarded. The writing itself should keep those who like real literature engaged, but the story is the real hook. Sad and gruesome and compelling. One of the more interesting novels I've read in a while.
It's often compared with The Lord of the Flies, to give you a hint of the content.