Monday, 3 January 2011

A book a week in 2010: The Dare by John Boyne

John Boyne is the author of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas. The Dare is a novella published in 2009 for the Quick Reads programme.

Danny Delaney lives at home with his mum and dad. It's the summer holidays and his older brother, who is at university, has decided to travel round Europe, so Danny is on his own. But everything gets turned on its head when his mum is brought home by the police after an accident. Danny can only look on helplessly as his mum withdraws from the family.

The Dare does what Boyne is renowned for: telling challenging and heart-wrenching stories from a child's perspective. He recreates the world of a child during the summer holidays complete with secret hiding places, sun bleached colours, bike rides and other simple pleasures.

But Boyne succeeds best with the powerful depiction of an eight year old's logic and the limited world that it operates in. Highly recommended.

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