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76 Reviews
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of 2012's top novels
As an avid reader of Lelic's work I had been looking forward to his third novel and I wasn't disappointed. The Child Who takes what, in less capable hands, could be a tabloid gore-fest, the murder of a school girl by another child, and offers a complex and insightful portrayal of those involved in the case. By focusing on Leo Curtice, the solicitor tasked with defending...
Published on 5 Jan 2012 by Dixie

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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Little Fragmented
This is the first Simon Lelic book I have read, therefore I can't compare with his past works. I don't need to go into the plot as this has been well documented by other reviewers, so I will just give my personal opinion.

I thought this book was ok. I say that because in the beginning I truly had high hopes for it, but as I got further into the book, I felt it...
Published on 10 Jan 2012 by Luna Shine


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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of 2012's top novels, 5 Jan 2012
By 
Dixie (London, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Child Who (Hardcover)
As an avid reader of Lelic's work I had been looking forward to his third novel and I wasn't disappointed. The Child Who takes what, in less capable hands, could be a tabloid gore-fest, the murder of a school girl by another child, and offers a complex and insightful portrayal of those involved in the case. By focusing on Leo Curtice, the solicitor tasked with defending the accused child, Lelic does not seek to provide easy answers - that is not his style - instead he forces the reader to question a number of issues surrounding the case from the frailties of the UK justice system, to the lust for public blood-letting in such cases and, more widely, the failure of society as a whole to protect its most vulnerable.

While the subject of the book is without question a difficult one, the flawed humanity of Lelic's characaters from the unfuflfilled Leo, to his conflicted wife and withdrawn teenage daughter make this book an extremely rewarding read. Narrative tension is maintained superbly throughout the novel due to the sparing use of "present day" chapters, which offer the reader tantalising hints of the dramatic impact that the case will have on Curtice and his family. Lelic's prose - always one of his strong points - is by turns searing and poetic, while all the time maintaining the pared down quality that is fast becoming his trademark.

This is less a book about why a child kills another child, and more a deeply moving and utterly affecting examination of the complex moral and societal issues surrounding such an emotive crime. The recent Guardian review was right - this really does deserve to be Lelic's breakthrough book.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Child Who, 2 Jan 2012
By 
S Riaz "S Riaz" (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Child Who (Hardcover)
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This novel is about a very emotive issue, that of children who kill. In this case, Daniel Blake, a twelve year old boy who kills an eleven year old girl as she walks to school. The story is told mostly from the point of view of Leonard (Leo) Curtis, a solicitor who defends Daniel, much to the disgust of his wife, Meg. As Leo becomes more involved in Daniel's case, he experiences hate mail and his wife and daughter, Ellie, are also targeted. When Megan is spat at in a supermarket and Ellie attacked at school, she begs him to drop the case, but he is unable, or unwilling, to do so.

The author explores this storyline expertly. Does Daniel, expelled from schools, with an aggressive stepfather, mother who seems depressed to the point of apathy and father in prison, deserve sympathy? Could the warning signs have stopped what happened? As the barrister tells Leo, rather flippantly, "It's never about why. We need to condemn a little more and understand a little less. This is England, not Scandinavia." Yet Leo, personally involved, does feel sympathy with Daniel and feels he has been let down. However, when Leo's own daughter is targeted, Simon Lelic shows how difficult it is to want anything other than revenge.

Overall, this was a well paced and well written novel, with good characters. I did feel Meg over-reacted somewhat to Leo taking the case on. Despite the circumstances, it was a high profile case, but she reacted badly even before it impacted on her, or her daughter, personally. The author really captured Leo's initial nervous excitement at a case which meant something to him, before events spiralled out of control. Also, the jealousy Leo encounters perfectly described office politics, as well as the way other people reacted with either distate or outright hostility to a crime which is very hard to accept, let alone understand. Thankfully, this book is neither sensational or mawkish, but simply leaves you feeling quite sad for everyone concerned.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The child who killed a child, 10 Dec 2011
By 
Eleanor (Oxford, England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Child Who (Hardcover)
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It's the year 2000 and a twelve year old boy has murdered an eleven year old girl. As the country is convulsed with rage and digust, Leo Curtice is appointed the boy's solicitor. His defending of the undefendable, however, makes him the subject of hatred and threatens to tear his family apart.

Inspired by the Mary Bell and James Bulger cases this intelligent thriller examines the strong emotions aroused when children kill children and the lack of humanity such events evince in the press and the public.

I enjoyed the way that Lelic focuses on the solicitor rather than the killer, as this made the book seem fresh and allows the reader to experience the same moral dilemmas as Leo does. Overall "The Child Who" does feel short and, as other reviewers have remarked, perhaps somewhat lacking in depth. It is, however, an enjoyable and thought-provoking read.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Little Fragmented, 10 Jan 2012
This review is from: The Child Who (Hardcover)
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This is the first Simon Lelic book I have read, therefore I can't compare with his past works. I don't need to go into the plot as this has been well documented by other reviewers, so I will just give my personal opinion.

I thought this book was ok. I say that because in the beginning I truly had high hopes for it, but as I got further into the book, I felt it was becoming rather disjointed. There were lots of gaps in the story, and rather than concentrate on Daniel Blake, who was the child murderer, and the real reasons why he killed Felicity Forbes. It was mostly about Leo Curtice, the Solicitor who took on Daniel's case and the problems he was facing in his life, because he had taken on this high profile murder case. I felt the plot was confusing with different references being made throughout each chapter, and sometimes there didn't seem to be any link. Hence the story was sometimes difficult for me to follow and I found myself getting rather confused. I felt too, that there was little substance to the story and that is the reason for my 3 star score.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thought-provoking thriller, 14 Jan 2012
By 
J. H. Bretts "jerard1" - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Child Who (Hardcover)
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Simon Lelic's The Child Who manages to be both a very good thriller and an exploration of society's attitudes to children who commit terrible crimes. As a thriller there is a nail-biting plot with lots of twists and turns,an ending which will surprise you (well, it did me at any rate!), compelling characters - particularly the solicitor Leo Curtice - and vividly written scenes by an excellent prose stylist. As a novel exploring society today it asks awkward questions about nature versus nurture, social attitudes and the role of the media. It is probably more successful as a thriller and I strongly recommend it to fans of the genre. Simon Lelic has just got better and better since his first novel and I am definitely going to keep an eye out for what he writes next.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic!, 9 Jan 2012
This review is from: The Child Who (Hardcover)
The Child Who, the third novel by Lelic, reinforces my view that he is a talented and exciting writer. He is not afraid to tackle difficult subjects as demonstrated again in The Child Who, a novel that focuses on the murder of a child by a child and the surrounding case. Lelic, not only shows us the fallout of such a terrible crime on the families involved and the response of the public, but delves deeper into the impact such as act has on the solicitor who handles the case and his family.

The characters are believeable and the prose tight and sparse (a feature of Lelics writing that I have always enjoyed). I was drawn into this book right from the start, and was gripped until it's conclusion.

A story that will stay in my mind and keep me thinking for a long time. Fantastic!
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Quick, cursory and undemanding, 24 Nov 2011
By 
Roman Clodia (London) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Child Who (Hardcover)
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The premise of this book is good: an oblique look at the effect a horrific crime has on a lawyer and his family. However, the book failed to engage me at all, and rather than finding this emotional and powerful, as the story should have been, I found it cold, cursory and detached.

Lelic's pared-back prose, lots of conversation, little exposition - not something I usually have a problem with - felt oddly disengaged from the story it was trying to tell. As other reviewers have mentioned, this is a very quick and undemanding read, sketchy rather than detailed, all of which felt inappropriate to me given the content of the book.

So I didn't like this at all - it felt very superficial and almost artificial to me - but other readers who have different expectations from a book may well love it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 28 Aug 2012
This review is from: The Child Who (Kindle Edition)
I feel compelled to write a review on this book.

Daily deal - 99p. I bought it. Reviews raved about it. I was highlighted as one of the must reads of the month in the library. Bargain

How wrong. The story line held so much potential. The story was built up. The solicitor, the poor abused boy, the solicitors wife, the withdrawn daughter. It was all there....it built with anticipation into......well nothing. A fragmented reveal where you jumped between the here and now and the past with no real indication of timeline. There was no great surprise at the end so don't hold your breath and all in all it was a let down. The moment you'd built up to of the abduction was there and then I think it's fair to say the story didn't reveal itself do much as just unravel in a half hearted manor

So much potential but so little satisfaction. Sorry.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Child Who, 27 Aug 2012
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This review is from: The Child Who (Kindle Edition)
I really enjoyed this book, it was a change to read it from the lawyer's view and how the case affected him and his family rather than from the murderer's view. Without giving too much away I had to keep on reading to find out what happened to his daughter. I liked the ending, which I did not guess, and would recommend this book to family and friends.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Child Who, 17 Aug 2012
By 
N. Wilson "nigel-wilson" (Bristol, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Child Who (Hardcover)
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The Child Who is a very poignant and thought-provoking story which is beautifully written and well thought out. I wouldn't normally enjoy a book of this style as much as I did, but the emotive way Lelic tales this story- one of a young boy who kills a young girl- makes this a real page-turning read.

Intelligent in it's execution, the book examines the emotional reality of our world, the ways in which we inhumanely examine events through the media and the ways in which families can fall apart.

As dark as this novel is, it's refreshing, enjoyable and truly beautiful in its writing.
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The Child Who
The Child Who by Simon Lelic (Hardcover - 5 Jan 2012)
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