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Blood Family Hardcover – 4 Jul 2013

24 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday Childrens (4 July 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0857532405
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857532404
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 2.5 x 22.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 424,476 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Anne Fine leads a double life as an author. Of her eight novels for adult readers, she describes seven as black comedies and the first, The Killjoy, as simply 'dead black'. These adult novels cause readers to squirm with mingled horror and delight as she peels away the layers in all too familiar family relationships, exposing the tangled threads and conflicts beneath. It's therefore perhaps not surprising that Anne has openly expressed astonishment at the fact that murder in the domestic setting is not more common.
A great favourite for discussions in reading groups, Anne Fine's work has been published in over forty-five languages. Despite this, she remains best known in her home country, Britain, as a writer principally for children. She has twice won both the Carnegie Medal and the Whitbread Awards, the Guardian Children's Book Prize and numerous other prizes and awards. She was the second Children's Laureate from 2001-3, is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and was awarded an OBE for services to children's literature.
Anne Fine is an entertaining and engaging speaker on the subject of books and reading, and is in demand the world over for her tireless enthusiasm, common sense approach to literacy, and for the deliciously wicked humour that permeates all her writing.
Find out more about Anne's dual lives at www.annefine.co.uk

Product Description

Review

"Strong stuff from a writer who is never afraid to be outspoken" (Nicholas Tucker Independent)

"Reading Anne Fine's work is always a challenge as well as a delight. She's like a difficult relative who appears at family events and tells everyone a few home truths, yet gets away with it because she has such a wickedly witty turn of phrase" (Tony Bradman Guardian)

"A riveting read" (The Bookseller)

"Once again Fine proves why she is such a prolific author with this dangerous and dark new book . . . Evocative, emotional and beautifully imagined" (We Love This Book)

"Excellent" (Marilyn Brocklehurst The Bookseller)

Book Description

A dark and gripping tale of a young boy's struggle to escape the horrors of his childhood - and the violent destiny he fears must await him.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Serendipity Reviews TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 12 Oct. 2013
Format: Hardcover
Originally published on Serendipity Reviews.
This book has to be one of the most upsetting books I have ever read. In fact I think it broke my heart. I couldn't read it continually, because I found myself getting emotional every time I picked it up, so I would have to mix it up with a lighter book.

The story looks closely at the forgotten victims; the children who grew up in abusive households, only to reach a point where intervention is the final answer. I don't know about you,but when I consider children who have been fostered or adopted, I like to think their lives have improved. But I've never once considered the time bomb they might carry around inside them, which inevitably shows it's face as they mature.

Every child normally resembles a member of their family, which becomes more evident as they reach adulthood. Imagine looking just like the person who made your childhood a living nightmare. When you see the monster that scared you half to death, looking back at you in the mirror - how do you escape them? How do you stop becoming just like them? These are the questions that define Eddie's future.

I loved Eddie. He left his unhappy childhood, majorly unscathed and seemed to go through life, gathering strength with each new year. Until he discovers who his real father is and that's where his world unravels. I found myself shouting at his adopted family for not seeing what was going on. On the outside, Eddie seemed to be happy. He didn't dwell on the past, so his parents felt they had nothing to worry about - and yet Eddie was drinking what ever he could lay his hands on.

I really liked the format of the book. It is told from multiple view points, so you get a full view of how Eddie grew up and changed.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By C. Colley TOP 500 REVIEWER on 2 Sept. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
Anne Fine's latest book is a compelling read, and I was engrossed in the story for a few days. The story revolves around Eddie, and begins with Eddie and his mother being rescued from a flat, where they had been kept prisoner for several years.
Eddie embarks on a new life through the care system and although life is a struggle for him, Eddie ends up being cared for by some loving people. Later in the book, Eddie's life takes a downward turn when he makes a discovery about his family history.
The novel is told by Eddie and various other people involved in his life. Both the characters and storyline are believable and the story moves along at a good pace.
The deep issues explored in this novel means that it is not an easy read and I was thinking about it for ages after I had finished it. I think it would be ideal for a book group to read, as there is lots to discuss. Amongst other things, it raises interesting debate about family history and whether genes determine how we turn out, or can we determine our own fate.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By C. E. Utley TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 13 Dec. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As I started to read this novel I feared I was embarking on one of those awful misery stories which are so unaccountably popular these days. But I had no need to worry. There are many dark moments in the story, but there is also humour and there are wonderfully moving episodes which will bring tears to many an eye.

Eddie is, as the story begins, a seven year-old boy who has spent four years imprisoned in a horribly sordid flat with his mother, Lucy, and a thug of the worst order called Bryce Harris. Harris goes out. Lucy and Eddie are not allowed to leave the flat. They are required to stay in behind locked doors and instructed never to allow anyone in. When Harris returns to the flat he assaults Lucy, treating her as a punch bag. But, rather cleverly, he resists the temptation to beat the boy.

A neighbour realises that a child is imprisoned in the flat. She writes to the Social Services. They ignore her early letters but, eventually, notice is taken. The police raid the flat, sensibly waiting for Harris to be out. Eddie and his mother are rescued. And so we start to follow Eddie's life away from Harris.

By a remarkable stroke of luck a previous tenant of the flat had left thirty video tapes of an old Canadian children's television programme featuring a man called Mr Perkins. Eddie and his mother watched them avidly, whenever Harris was away. Mr Perkins provided Eddie with endless information about the outside world. When Eddie escapes his dreadful ordeal he is not nearly as damaged as one would expect. All the credit for that must be given to Mr Perkins.

But life is not all perfect for Eddie. Those horrific four years have left their mark on him. Anne Fine takes us through the next ten or so years of his life in a beautifully sensitive way.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By K. J. Noyes TOP 100 REVIEWER on 21 May 2014
Format: Paperback
Powerful. Upsetting. Inspiring.

A heart-breaking opening. Seven-year-old Eddie is rescued by a neighbour raising the alarm after seeing his pale face kept indoors for three years. Forced into captivity by his mother's partner, Eddie and his mother emerge into the world damaged in different ways. Initially seeming resilient, Eddie copes with foster and adoptive families, learning how to socialise with other children, attends his first school. Only several years later as a teenager does he start to question his relationship to his gaoler, and if violence can be inherited. And starts to go off the rails...

I heard of Anne Fine's latest book and thought I'd stand clear, based on the stark subject matter. But the Carnegie nomination prompted me to give it a go. I found it wasn't as hard-going as I'd anticipated. I even read it on audiobook and it flew by, I listened to it all in two days. Excellent narration from Jack Hawkins.

Eddie is a child you want to protect, smart but broken, brought up by fear and Mr Perkins videotapes (found in his prison home and watched over and over, educational shows that give him long-standing morals and knowledge). His transformation into troubled teen is all too real and understandable as he experiments with different ways of blocking his worries and drowning himself in his despair. I was reminded of Melvin Burgess's 'Junk' in some parts as the inevitable chemical dependence begins.

It's hard-hitting at times. The structure is excellent, as Eddie is only one of many narrators. Anyone who has been involved in his life speaks up.
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