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Real life gets a real working in Gibbons shocking novel
on 4 August 2009
Danny and his mother Cathy have been living in fear from Chris and one day they make a break for freedom, only the Promised Land has its own problems.
Alan Gibbons has established himself in the writer's industry with some powerfully constructed novels that never fail to show the true shocking emotional core of real life.
The Dark beneath was a powerful drama following the dramatic life of Anthony, a cast away looking for a friend whilst the love of his life found comfort in the arms of an asylum seeker. Blood Pressure was a powerful revitalisation of parentage whilst Hold On was perhaps the most shocking of all with the diary of a teenager who committed suicide.
The author certainly knows his issues and this 2002 release is still perfectly sound in reverberating the power and emotion of current society with its issues regarding violence and significantly racism.
The action starts straight away with central character Danny being woken up by Cathy, his frightened mother and the pair are soon on the run from Cathy's violent boyfriend Chris who is furious by their options and soon we have not just a drama but a fast paced novel that epitomizes real life in significant ways.
The pair find time to hold up at Cathy's parent's house and soon Danny is troubled by the locals because of the colour of his skin. It is heartbreaking to think that racism is still a dominant judgement in English society but Gibbons is by no means beating around the point, he dives right in their with cruel dialogue for Steve Parker, the local troublemaker whilst Danny's own grandfather has reservations regarding his presence in his home.
Not only does this look at the controversy regarding racial appearances but this book has encoded numerous other implications. Teenage pregnancy, marriage and bullying also get a strong involvement with the proceedings and as the story progresses, it gets even sharper and even more controversial.
Whilst intended undoubtedly to be a drama there is the odd spurt of comedy from Danny with his cheeky attitude when with Nikki. There are numerous action sequences with the bullying and dramatic finale stand outs.
Perhaps what makes this book so powerful emotionally is the use of different perspective. We are constantly changing narrator into the character's point of view and so we as readers are able to grasp the gist of proceedings whilst coming to our own conclusions about the protagonists. These are certainly very strong with a script so issue driven that you may need to take a breather.
There are a few faults. For one Gibbons, whilst brilliant, does often go over the point constantly whilst we could easily understand straight away. Chris' involvement in the middle is very repetitive. Occasionally there is also a lack of urgency.
Nevertheless there is little doubt that this is easily Gibbons' strongest meaningful drama to date and for a powerful drama, it packs a hefty punch.