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Ev, Guilsborough Academy

Beck

Once again, another Carnegie shortlisted book fails to capture my interest. I recently finished Beck, a story about a black orphan who is sent of to Canada at the age of 14. Although Beck may seem to have a promising story from the blurb, this story is nothing of the sort. This may only be from my point of view, and some people may enjoy it - but I highly doubt any reader would enjoy reading a story that has no real plot and no reason to want to cheer for the protagonist.
The book begins by explaining Beck's parents, and how he came to the Sisters of Mercy, his first orphanage. However, this only lasts about half a chapter, before we are told that he is sent on a boat and shipped off to Canada. I'll avoid any spoilers, (if anything is interesting enough to even be spoilt) but at this point the book had still failed to catch my attention, and so I didn't have high hopes for the story. However, right from his arrival in Canada you can see that something sinister is going on, only to result in an incredibly graphic scene involving a paedophilic priest and a 15 year old boy. After this incredibly uncomfortable, disgusting, and completely unnecessary chapter, there is the first of many timeskips. Said timeskips leave any reader confused and lost. These happen repetitively throughout the story, and cause the reader to feel disconnected from the book. A good book should immerse the reader into it's world, and make the reader feel part of the story. This, however, does not. A lot of the events that happen make no sense, although when you get a feeling of hope for Beck after all that's happened, it's ripped away for no real reason. The book rambles on, and for me it felt like somebody was telling me about their solo shopping trip to Waitrose, and them attempting to tell me in detail about the courgettes and apple juice - in the most boring an uninteresting way possible. Towards the end of the book, you begin to gain hope for Beck again, but then he abandons it, only to turn back around a few paragraphs later. It...makes no sense to me, as a reader. The book ends on no real point of interest, and it left me wondering where the rest of the book was.

After reading the afterword, I learnt that this book was started by one author, and finished by another - without communicating to the original author about what they intended for the story. It certainly feels like there's a 'switch' midway through the book, and it takes a lot away.

Beck is not an interesting book, and the scenes that could have been used well and brought back later were unnecessary, and completely tasteless - if not somewhat scary and uncomfortable for a lot of readers.

I wouldn't recommend Beck to anyone, especially not anyone under the age of 16.

Posted on: 26th April 2017 at 02:03 pm

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