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Tessa , Palmers Green High School

The Stars at Oktober Bend

I am an advocator of books and poems written in Non-Standardised English because it exposes us to a wider variety of reading. However, ‘The Stars at Oktober Bend’ did this in an interesting way, and whilst it did help a little with the characterisation of Alice (she tugged at my poor broken heartstrings soo much!), it did make the book quite difficult to read and understand.
I found reading this book very emotionally wearing and heavy, particularly because it deals with rape, murder, child soldiers and other very sensitive issues, but also because of the complexity of the story and how people in Alice’s hometown were connected. Although I did like the plot twist regarding Hamish and Alice, I did not really believe totally in the events of the plot at times because it was so unbelievably coincidental or confusing.
However, I did like the way that Glenda Millard uses her language to portray Alice’s character, and her ‘forever twelveness’, because it showed that whilst Alice was not the same after what happened to her, it also contained hope for the future because Alice did not give up on trying to communicate with her family no matter how difficult it was for her, and this was one of the many things that made me tear up while reading this book.
Also, I loved the way that Millard drew parallels between Manny and Alice’s pasts through their experiences, but particularly the tables, and I really cried when Manny’s table was destroyed just like so many other things in his life. Reading this section made me think about what was really important to me and why, in a way that I had not thought before, and this was the reason that this book made a deep impression on me. It made me think: ‘If I was Alice, if that had happened to me, how would I react? What would I do?’, and honestly, I had never thought about this before now.
Coming back to reality, the likelihood of some of the events in this book all coinciding is pretty slim, and it distracted me from the plot and detracted from the experience a little, so I recommend that readers of ‘The Stars at Oktober Bend’ focus more on the characters and what they are saying instead of the nitty gritty parts of the plot so you can enjoy the book more. Also, I do not recommend ‘The Stars at Oktober Bend’ for any reader under 14 years because it is a very emotionally draining book, and I do not believe that they would fully understand the whole picture of the plot.

Posted on: 17th May 2017 at 04:55 pm

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