The strengths of What the Birds See, which are considerable, are those of an adult novel. It would be particularly interesting to read in schools with older teenage readers doing literature courses, because it explores with sensitivity and acute psychological insight the private ordeals of a lonely nine-year-old, an age not too remote from intelligent adolescents. The book is really a case study rather than a story. At its fringe is the mysterious vanishing of three young Australian children, but this event is so subdued in the telling that it almost disappears from the narrative. Its true subject is Adrian, aged nine. Adrian is a quiet, nervous, docile, unobtrusive little boy – ‘boring’, according to his father, who deserts him. Taken from his mother because of her unspecified inadequacies, he lives with his gran, a reluctant if loving foster-parent who feels too old to be tied to a young child. His neurotic, damaged uncle shares the house. At school he has, and loses, one friend. His only companions are three children across the road, especially the eldest, Nicole. Obedient, and needful of her friendship, Adrian follows Nicole into tragedy. Until the appalling denouement, not much happens except in Adrian’s mind and heart, where plenty does. The result is a moving novel of childhood, but not a children’s book.
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 Hill2003-03-01 18:40:092023-09-02 18:42:04What the Birds See