9 December 2006

Alone on a Wide Wide Sea.

Just zipped through Michael Morpurgo's latest in the last couple of days after having had a proof sat on my shelves for a good 2 or 3 months. For something that resides in the 9-12 section it's pretty harrowing. It's like a seretonin-free Louis Sachar's 'Holes'. Clearly by the speed at which I gobbled it up, it's compulsive reading. The first 2/3 reads more easily that the back third but it still hangs together pretty well.

Orphan boy gets shipped to Oz after his parents are killed in the war. He leaves with a key thread through with string given to him by his big sister Kittie. He meets a variety of cruel, sad, strange, gentle and hearty individuals who shape his life and move the story full circle until he has a daughter of his own and she decides to return to England and find out the truth about Kittie. Not a sniff of sentimentality and some pretty harsh things get thrown at the characters; abuse, snake bites, 30 foot waves to name but a few.

A very memorable read. I don't care if it's written for kids, he's a very accomplished writer, grounded in social realism and well worth the effort.

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