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Emily , Sutton Girls

The Bone Sparrow

The Bone Sparrow by Zana Fraillon

This is a thoughtful, contemporary and interesting book where the characters light up on the page like real people. Subhi, a refugee is completely innocent and naïve and because he was born in an immigration detention centre and has never left, doesn't realise that the conditions there are appalling. The plot reminds me of the 'Boy in the Striped Pyjamas' as Subhi soon meets the tomboy girl, Jimmie, from the outside who climbs over the fence and they secretly share stories together.

My favourite trait in Subhi was his innocence. When people in the detention centre were on hunger strikes and his sister Queenie constantly lamented over the horrendous conditions in the centre, like the mushy food and the fact that they had to queue everywhere to have lunch or go to the bathroom, Subhi couldn't understand the protests because he didn't know any different way of life which makes the reader feel drawn to him but also shocked that he accepts these conditions. The reader learns Subhi's inner thoughts through his conversations with a rubber duck who he names Shakespeare! The duck can be quite stroppy and part from bringing humour to the story suggests Subhi's loneliness.

The 'Jackets' who guarded the refugees and stopped them escaping were usually rough and strict, apart from one, Harvey. Even though he brought out a paddling pool when a day was warm and once leant Subhi a book to read when he was upset, I wasn't completely sure that I trusted him. My suspicions were confirmed at the end, when Eli gets beaten up by Beaver, the cruelest 'Jacket' who gets angry very easily. Harvey just watched him get beaten and walked away without saying a word. Despite this, Harvey wasn't a terrible character, he just was too cowardly to stand up to another 'Jacket'.

I believe that this book was successful in its purpose to inform others about what it is like to live in a detention centre. However, Fraillon told the story in a clever and interesting way which incorporated humour like the Shakespeare duck into the plot. This made it a less depressing book and with its uplifting ending, I loved reading it from start to finish and would definitely recommend it.

By Emily Robson.

Posted on: 15th May 2017 at 08:09 pm

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