10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: What I Did (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)Yet another five star review from me and I begin to wonder if I am becoming less critical in my "old" age! However this book absolutely deserves it in my view. The subject matter is serious but is handled in a very original way that makes it very readable, without detracting from the importance of the issues. Many ordinary, "good" parents will shiver at the possibility that this could happen to them - and we know that it sometimes does. Balance that against the far more frequent stories in the news of child abuse and we have the classic dilemma that social workers face every day of their working lives: damned if they do and damned if they don't. Many innocent parents will empathise with the reaction of Billy's father to the accusations against him and will recoil from the invasion of privacy and family life that results from a momentary action. So, that's the theme, but the beauty of this book is in the narration by six year old Billy, who is a bright child with an almost obsessive interest in natural history - which contributes in part to the misinterpretation of his father's actions. You will laugh out loud at some of Billy's "mis-sayings" - it took me most of the book to unravel his use of the word vertically - turned out to mean virtually. (We all have stories like this from our children. My son wanted to play a gitower with a stick (violin)and sit in a death (deck) chair. And I narrowly avoided social services when I gave him chicken maggots for tea.) It is Billy's efforts to do the right thing and to do what he thinks his parents want him to that leads them further and further into the nightmare and only by using Billy as the narrator could the author explain this through Billy's eyes. If you liked Room by Emma Donoghue you will like this device; if you didn't, then this might irritate you. For me it was a compelling read.