The brief opening section, in italics, reads like a film catching us expertly at the point just before dramatic and awful action is about to dramatise what the spare and shocking title has threatened. It is titled ‘The Boy’, followed by the precise location in Columbia and ‘right now’ – character, place and time. With the same disturbing mix of the title and the book, we have the boy, Shorty, dreaming of playing football, sitting in his ‘way too big’ shirt in a car with a child-locked door. His gun is also too big for him, he has been injected with just enough drug not to lose ‘the natural adrenalin that turned the little ones into live wires’, and with laws that won’t ‘jail a minor for murder’, and enticed by the prospect of a football season ticket, Shorty is one of the kids who ‘made perfect killers’. It is based apparently in fact. In taking us back into Shorty’s life in the chapters that follow and explaining how he has come to be in the back of this car, Whyman cleverly details the 12-year-old’s world which is cut into so abruptly by the vicious adult one. The short scenes of brutality are shocking, in the casualness of the cruelty as well as the detail, but brief. What remains is the engaging story of a young boy, told in the first person and layering the detail of his world with his feelings for his family, his friend and football. It’s a good and short story, well told, gripping, poignant and easy to read. It’s also disturbing and unsettling and perhaps even more so for teachers, librarians and parents wanting to arbitrate, if young readers don’t get there first, the maturities required to deal with such a book. We may debate these moral questions over a book while Shorty’s people debate them in action.
http://booksforkeeps.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/bfklogo.png 0 0 Angie Hill http://booksforkeeps.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/bfklogo.png Angie Hill2004-09-01 17:50:322023-06-10 17:54:50Boy Kills Man