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Edward, Larkmead Secondary School


Throughout my childhood, I read my way through children’s fiction from Roald Dahl to David Walliams. However, while these authors are all excellent in their own right, reading Rook made me regret that I hadn't kept reading their books. The storyline of Rook follows Nicky, our protagonist, experiencing the agony of his first love and his uncontrollably ridiculous responses to it. While the plot would be painfully dull and teenage if this were all it were reduced to, the character of Kenny (Nicky’s brother) adds a whole new dimension to the narrative: as the pair rescue a dying rook, McGowan explores the oxymoronic love and frustration felt by any child towards their sibling in a blunt but tender manner. Simplicity, I believe, is very important in this book; as the novel is written from Nicky’s perspective, an overly complex vocabulary or attempt to intellectualise every thought would be unpleasant for readers and wholly unrealistic. While the minimalistic phrasing is a little exaggerated initially, it must be said that it adds to the book’s believable nature, and is ideal for encouraging young or struggling readers to give the book a try. Also, being just over 100 pages long, it remains a perfect read for children and wouldn’t appear overwhelming at first glance. The writing – in turns explicit, beautiful and straightforward – portrays Nicky’s character perfectly: McGowan has skilfully mastered the art of writing like a child, something that so many writers struggle with. One slightly unfortunate aspect of the novel was its unnecessary vulgarity in places. Overall I think that Anthony McGowan is an incredibly talented author and has produced some gripping books. I think the whole idea is thought out cleverly and taken time over for perfection as well as the characters personalities which fitted in to each scenario perfectly.

Posted on: 18th April 2018 at 01:45 pm

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