Monday, 8 July 2013

Through a Child's Eyes

Good evening!

Last post I promised I'd talk about child narrators, and so today I'm going to talk to you about one book which make me want to squeal with delight at the sophistication of the narrative. It's also partly because I regret to inform you that I have failed miserably at reading Gone Girl. (Boo!) I'm aware that it was a bestseller but I really struggled to get into it. I found that there was a ton of jumping around to different places and times even in the first four chapters. I would've preferred to settle down into the story first before it threw me off course.

My A2 college courses are really big on films for some reason, and so for the last four weeks in History and Religion, all we've been doing is watching films. In Religion today we watched The Passion of the Christ, and in History we watched To Kill A Mockingbird.

I don't know what I want to say about this novel. It's one of those books that you hear about everywhere you go and when you read it you suddenly realise what all the hype is about. I remember the first ever time someone told me to read To Kill A Mockingbird. I was standing in the book section of a heavily ventilated museum shop in Manchester and my mother shadowed over me and said bluntly, "You need to read To Kill A Mockingbird." Next Christmas, it was one of my presents. I didn't take to it straight away because my best friend and I had both read the first page three times and struggled to get any further. The moment I actually got through the first chapter was at the back of a Science class, and after getting over excited about it, I narrowly escaped a detention.

The book's focus is on the relationships between black and white people in 1930s America. The tension is huge during this period. Black people are treated as second class citizens and they don't have the same rights. It's an awful subject for anyone to have to read about, but this book informs us of it in a clever way. It's told from the point of view of Scout Finch, who's a little girl with a lawyer as a Dad. Her Dad is defending a black man in court, and they're getting a lot of stick for it.

Needless to say, the readers can usually figure out what's happening in the novel quite easily, but because Scout is a young child it's almost like the information is slowly leaked out, forcing us to piece it together ourselves. What would've been brutal to have to skim our eyes over becomes a beautiful piece of fiction because of the way the themes are filtered through a young child's eyes. If the story was told by anyone else, we'd completely lose this. I think child narrators are amazing in the way that they can add innocence to something so shocking to people of older ages.

Two other books I found compelling in the same way were called I, Coriander and When God Was a Rabbit. The former does a similar job set during the English Civil War, but has a bigger fantasy element in it. The latter is a lot more realistic, dealing with sexual themes and natural disasters, as well as growing up to becoming a young adult.

I'm reading Stormbreaker at the moment, it's part of the Alex Rider series. The only other Anthony Horowitz book I've read so far is Raven's Gate and I've sort of always wanted to be a spy, so I'm really finding this book brilliant so far. (Plus it's not even mine.) We're doing love poetry in English Literature, and I've completely fallen in love with Carol Ann Duffy's The World's Wife.

I'm excited about the new book I brought yesterday. It's called Devoured and it was only two pounds. It's set in the post-Ripper period, and it reminded me of a sort of Sherlock and Watson pairing, but it seems more of a book to slowly ease you into Victorian crime fiction, rather than diving head first into it. I really need to be a bigger Crime Fiction reader, but for some reason I never get my hands on any of the big names.

Thanks a bunch for reading,
Rachel x

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