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Customer reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars

on 19 July 2017
Not up to his usual stories totally different from his other stories. Nonetheless I did enjoy the book.
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on 16 August 2017
looking forward to reading this on holiday
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on 4 May 2017
This story is told through Ginny’s viewpoint as the summer holidays stretch ahead of her after her exams. It is a beautifully told tale with passages of lyric beauty as Ginny explores this seaside setting with an artist’s eye – and no, that isn’t reviewer-speak to warn you of a literary offering where the pace crawls along at the speed of a dozing snail. This tale cracks along at a fair clip as Ginny’s world is upended after a social worker suddenly appears up asking a lot of questions that has Ginny questioning former so-called facts, as well as shaking loose some uncomfortable memories…

This coming-of-age book has plenty of tension and effectively raises questions that all teenagers are confronted with – questions that we as adults shouldn’t let slip through the cracks of our oh-so-busy lives, because they go on mattering throughout our existence. This book deserves to be far better known than it is for it’s a gem. The story raises all sorts of gnarly questions about our society without any tub-thumping or syrupy sentiment – what happens to children when families can no longer cope? What is normal and who gets to decide? How do you decide what really matters to you – and what do you do when following that dream hurts the people around you? Pullman doesn’t necessarily offer the answers, but he certainly explores the issues around these questions in a wonderfully non-judgemental manner.

Though I found myself weeping when Ginny’s father was describing his childhood, I wouldn’t want you to go away with the idea that this is some worthily dreary read – there is also plenty of humour, with a couple of laugh aloud moments around the antics of Ginny’s friend Andy. In short, this one blew me away and is one of the best books I’ve read this year.

While I obtained the arc of The Broken Bridge from the publisher via NetGalley, this has in no way influenced my unbiased review.
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on 2 May 2017
I found it really interesting to read one of Pullman's earlier works. This tells the story of Ginny, a 16 year old living in Wales with her dad and the fallout from a long kept and recently revealed family secret. I liked Ginny a lot. She's pretty self-obsessed, but not to her detriment and she does display true empathy and kindness when push comes to shove. The plot is good, with enough twists and turns to keep the reader interested, while at the same time, being a fairly gentle family drama. There are some good explorations on the nature of race, homosexuality and a really interesting focus on art and artists, which I found particularly compelling. His Dark Materials this is not, but then it never pretends to be and I think it is a perfectly good YA novel as is.
I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
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on 3 September 2017
When Ginny comes home from school one day near the end of the summer term there's a stranger talking to her dad.  With recent media about a single dad abusing his daughter she's anxious that the stranger thinks this is happening to her because she lives alone with her dad.  This is exactly how a teen would think (in my experience).  It's not until her best friend's sister shares something that Ginny can confront her dad for the truth and what she finds out turns her world upside down.

I loved Ginny's character.  She appears self-assured although underneath she's seething with questions about love and kissing and where she belongs.  Looking at the world through her artist's eye was inspiring.  Ginny's ability to live in the moment, the sights and sounds I found quite uplifting (and a reminder to slow down and take notice myself!).  I loved her determination and spirit.  She is callous at times but for me fits perfectly with her age and the independence she's experienced growing up.

The isolation of the setting and the small community of Llangynog is perfect for the social barriers to play out.  It often felt like Ginny was on the edge, confusion between straddling her school friends lives and the adult lives.  The myth of Pont Doredig (the broken bridge) becomes a fascination for her leading her to a confrontation.  Linked with finding out more about her Haitian heritage, this scene raised the hairs on the back of my neck!

The secret that is revealed is only the beginning as more unfolds.  Ginny remembers some experiences as a child and these flashbacks had me trying to fit everything together.  Intrigue!  I couldn't help the tears when Ginny's dad shared his own childhood experiences with her.  Very emotive.

The Broken Bridge has a great pace and interesting characters.  A reminder that not all is as it seems on the surface and how we do others a disservice with our preconceived notions.  It's a story about roots and family and how far we're prepared to go to try and make things right and how that affects the future.  It's about finding out where we belong and who we are.  I loved it!
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on 2 May 2017
I received a free ecopy of this book in return for an honest review. Many thanks to Netgalley and and the publisher for the opportunity.

I've read His Dark Materials so I was curious to see what Philip Pullman would do with a non-fantasy based story. The lead character in The Broken Bridge, Ginny, lives an idyllic dream like life with her father in small town Wales, until previously unknown family members start dropping out of the sky. I've known people who have been through that shock. There are so many other themes explored in this book, though. Ginny is a black child in an almost exclusively white community that includes her own father. She wants to explore her heritage but is also afraid that being black will mean no-one will want to date her. She finds out her dad may have been in prison. She experiences early memories that she doesn't understand. Originally published in 1990 it was written pre-internet which I kept forgetting. The search for information is a much simpler process now. It is refreshing, though, to read a real-world story about teens that is uncomplicated by mobile phones and social media. If you want to read a story about a teenager discovering the world is a much more complicated place than she realised and that her parent had a life separate from being her dad, this is the book for you.
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on 18 May 2017
I would like to thank the publisher and netgalley for giving me the opportunity to read this ARC in return for an honest review.
The Broken Bridge is a sympathetic and beautifully articulated recount of sixteen year old Ginny's identity crisis. She has lived with her father in a small Welsh village for as long as she can remember and is the only mixed race person there. Believing her Haitian artist mother to be dead she feels strong leanings to become an artist herself but cannot understand why her father never kept any of her mother's work. Then when a social worker turns up at their house Ginny begins to wonder whether she has been living a lie all her life, a suspicion her father does little to allay when he finally admits that he has a son from his first marriage who is coming to live with them. Ginny no longer knows who to trust and sets out to uncover her past and confront her father in a moving and compelling unravelling of their traumatic lives. Highly recommended.
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on 22 May 2017
Although this book was originally published in 1990 the issues raised within the book are still pertinent in todays society. Some things could have been cleared up today with a simple google search but the story still moves along well and creates intrigue alone the way. This story will speak to you regardless of age, gender or heritage because its themes are universal and still relevant today.

I was partially misled as I started this book because our main character Ginny is mixed race and early on a lot of her own comments and thoughts about feeling like she doesn't fit in I assumed this book would hit on more of those issues but they are not at all the focus of this book. This is simply a coming of age and figuring out who you are when most of your past is hidden away and filled with lies. And that story applies to everyone regardless of their heritage.

The writing grabs you and takes you along for what turns into a surprisingly wild ride! At the end I wanted more! Some of the outlying issues were left more unresolved or unfinished and I'd loved to have known more about Helen and Joe Chicago but overall I enjoyed this book.
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on 28 January 2010
I first read this book when I was twelve or thirteen and, going back to it now, in my early twenties, still find it fresh and interesting. Coming from an ethnically mixed family myself, with complicated arrangements involving half-children etc., I could relate to the issues of belonging and self-acceptance in the book. The main character is engaging and thought-provoking, and the whole thing is just beautifully written. I loved the His Dark Materials trilogy, but was just as delighted to find this relatively little-known gem by Philip Pullman.
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on 3 February 2002
Not up to the same standard as 'His Dark Materials' but it's aimed at a different market, I guess.
I found the writing good, creating that dreamlike, unreal, almost nightmarish feeling when your world is suddenly turned upside down.
The book grips you and you feel dragged along with our heroine as she tries to make sense of what is happening and the 'visions' she has; the only failing is the ending which seems a bit of an anticlimax.
Nevertheless, a very good read.
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