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Blood Family Paperback – 3 Apr 2014
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"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)
Shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal, this is the 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.See all Product description
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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. The nosey neighbour who spotted his face and informed the police about him, the social workers and policemen who rescue him, his foster and adoptive parents, new sister Alice, teachers, all add their voice to his story. It adds depth to his tale and makes it fly by.
Beautifully written, a subject you may want to steer clear of, but a story that ultimately shows that, in the end, we can control our own lives and must take responsibility for them.
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. I'd never even considered what it must be like for children to be adopted and know that they are, but I did feel this book gave an excellent portrayal of situations like this.
This is a very dark tale, but also a very real one. To say I enjoyed it, would be the wrong thing to say. The best way to describe the book is to say that it spoke to me on an emotional level.
A hard hitting, reality read.
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