Mr Conan, Impington Village College
Having heard others describe the plot of this book, I felt less than enthusiastic about reading it. Within two chapters though, I knew I had been wrong. This is beautifully observed, full of convincing and blissfully non-stereotyped characters and gentle humour. ("Blisters I had prayed for. And blisters I had got.") It was lovely to get to know Annabelle's exceptionally hard-working family and to recognise the hypocrisy behind Aunt Lily's holier-than-thouness and I enjoyed the ingenuity shown by Annabelle, a wonderfully strong, resourceful girl in the help she gave to Toby. What I liked most about this book are all the details about the sheer, relentless routines and simple chores, full of care and love and great skill, that were involved in keeping a family fed and safe in that time and place. As I closed the book, I felt emotional about having to leave a world that had been so convincingly created and filled with characters of great compassion and wisdom. I would be extremely happy for this novel to win the Medal, although I think it is a book likely to be appreciated more by readers who are old enough to appreciate the gentle rhythms of a simple life than by many of its target audience.
Posted on: 12th June 2017 at 05:35 pm
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