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Yasmin, St Augustines Catholic College

The Bone Sparrow

Bone Sparrow is a deceivingly simple book, wonderfully written and extremely thoughtful. The “simple” format of the book makes it a very accessible novel for teenagers and adults. The childish perspective gives the book a seemingly easy read, however, once it is delved deeper into, the true meaning of the plot unfolds. The author gives a depressing, childlike view on refugee camps, making the reader think: ‘why on Earth do children have to experience this?’ Similarly, this childlike view avidly involves a reader of that age. It is an eye-opener to read, as it reminds us of the ongoing refuge crisis that we are constantly being surrounded by.
Subhi - one of the main characters - pictures an imaginary world, creating a different view of the refugee camp he lives in. Near to the end of the book, his imagination comes to life, in a way, making us aware that the impossible was possible even in hard situations.
Unusually, the book is based in Australia, which is discovered in the novel, mid-way; this suspense of revealing the location gripped me. Also, the gradual, subtle reveal of the location made me read the same passage again and again, just to reassure myself that that was where it was based, as this reveal was truly shocking; as Australia is a wealthy country, it surprised me that it would be a place where extreme poverty lives alongside luxury.
Interestingly, there is a dual perspective within the book, one of the characters is written in first person, the other in third person. The comparison between the two characters makes us observe the differences, and the similarities between the two parallel universes. Friendship in this novel is powered by the hardships both characters experience, noticing the maturity the two children have developed - considering they are only around the age of 10.
Zana Fraillon has written an intensely worthy book, which makes us realise the harrowing reality of refugees’ lives, as well as the lives of disadvantaged children; she writes about the illusion of freedom in a direct and emotional way.

Posted on: 10th April 2017 at 09:17 pm

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