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Shreya Shyam, King Edward VI Camp Hill School for Girls

The Stars at Oktober Bend

The Stars at Oktober Bend is a sad yet hopeful creation, which looks at the life of Alice, a young girl with brain damage, and Manny, a child soldier, and the story of how they meet and fall in love. The book alternates between Alice’s and Manny’s narration, and together they weave the tapestries of their tales. Discrimination, war, exploitation and love, these are all the key themes of the plot, and they are beautifully entwined with the characterisation. Alice is a dynamic, tragic character, who teaches the reader not only how to can overcome one's past, but how to create one’s futures. Pity for those who are disabled is not enough, Alice shows us how to understand and empathise with her, and destroy the barrier that is created by her impaired speech. The fact that all of Alice’s narration is written in disjointed words and sentences shows us the innermost workings of her mind, and makes her all the more real. Manny beautifully couples with Alice’s character as a boy who is haunted by his violent past, and trapped between social expectations and his own nature. He is made more believable and real by his tough exterior and his soft and sentimental inner nature. The author, Glenda Millard has created a true masterpiece, with a duet of the plot, and Alice’s beautiful poetry, making the book unconventional, exquisite and a definite good read.

Posted on: 23rd April 2017 at 03:20 pm

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