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Helen, Backwell School

The Stars at Oktober Bend

The Stars at Oktober Bend

The book, although I use the term loosely, is written by Glenda Millard and (no disrespect to her) is quite possibly the worst ‘book’ I’ve ever had the misfortune of reading. I’ve read the Ladybird books after the age of 5!It is based on the classic love story with slight adaptation of characters and circumstances. Despite my hatred of the book I must give it credit as I’ve never been so systematically bored and annoyed in my life.

There are two main characters; Alice and Manny. It’s written in Alice’s point of view the majority of the time. Alice is shown as a girl with severe brain trauma, although the writer keeps this from us for the first few chapters, only hinting that something isn’t right by the COMPLETE LACK OF CAPITAL LETTERS! Hence my previous comment about it NOT BEING PROPER LITERATURE. Anyway, that particular rant is for next paragraph. Alice has severe brain trauma from a nasty incident previously that has left her with a speech impediment. This causes her to be the joke of the town she lives in. Manny is a boy who had experienced bad things that runs to escape them. Two ‘broken’ people that fall in love. Whoop-de-doo. I find writing descriptions of these characters difficult for a reason. Millard actually has written quite a lot about the characters – Alice has red hair and pale skin, for example – but other than material descriptions and crucial details in story lines (like Alice having brain damage) description seems to have been forgotten. In fact, the author, in some cases, looks as if she’s building up the mystery for unveiling only to forget to include that paragraph leaving the character just feeling like characters.

capital letters are used as a technique to draw attention to alice’s injury and develop mystery. Unfortunately, it also means that people like me want to put the book down immediately and pick up a ‘real’ one. In my opinion capital letters are not something authors are allowed to play around with, they are important parts of a sentence much like word order, words themselves, tenses and other things we are taught to accurately present our opinions. Also, Alice’s injury, as far as I could tell, was only limited to speech; her words and understanding of them remained unaffected. Therefore, I see no reason whatsoever to incorporate such a hideously distracting theme to a book that would otherwise be ok/bad.
Love stories historically make me want to hurl said book across the room, so I doubt I am the best person to accurately describe what happens. Basically, boy sees girl, boy falls in love with girl, boy sees girl’s poems, girl sees boys, girl likes boy, boy and girl find more about each other, big flood…spoiler. Happily, ever after.

According to English lessons, in a review it is customary to include a part about themes in a book. The Stars at Oktober Bend include themes of love, stars and pain. I certainly felt the latter through most of it so that’s been done well. The theme of stars was meant to tie in to the title and add a metaphorical meaning behind the book but I honestly have no idea what it might be. I’m sure, honestly, that that metaphor is well founded but my utter hatred of the book means that I cannot find what that metaphor may be.

In conclusion, this book is a unoriginal idea with twists based around the characters' positions. But the characters aren’t developed enough to make it work on its own. SO THE AUTHOR DESEIDES TO USE NO CAPITAL LETTERS TO ILLISTRATE SOMETHING SHE COULD’VE JUST WRITTEN TO SAVE ME THE TROUBLE OF WRITING SUCH A NEGATIVE REVIEW. And then she uses a metaphorical meaning that may or may not be clear. I didn’t really enjoy it to be honest.

Posted on: 24th April 2017 at 05:09 pm

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