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# Broken

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3.80  ·  rating details  ·  1,326 ratings  ·  233 reviews
Until that fateful afternoon, Skunk Cunningham had been a normal little girl, playing on the curb in front of her house. Rick Buck­ley had been a normal geeky teen­ager, hosing off his brand-new car. Bob Oswald had been a normal sociopathic single father of five slutty daughters, charging furiously down the side­walk. Then Bob was beating Rick to a bloody pulp, right there...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published September 9th 2008 by Harper Perennial (first published June 1st 2008)

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## Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,564)
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Shocking!!!!
This book jars the readers minds and emotions with the series of violent and unexpected blows. It tells the intertwining stories of three families and it reminded me of the movie Crash. I loved that movie and I absolutely love this book. It made me wonder why do some people learn how to survive and some don't.
Can a lamb learn how to fight off a lion?

Eleven year old Skunk Cunningham (love the name) is playing on the curb in front of her house (on Drummond Square in the suburbs of Lo...more
Jun 04, 2008 Rob rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those who like light, heartfelt drama
Page one - what the hell am I reading?
One third through - this isn't so bad after all.
Two thirds through - damn, I can't put this down.
Epilogue - wow, what a good book.

Well, that's my mini-review. The full review goes something like this: someone recommended this first novel from a British writer to me and wasn't exactly sure how to describe it. It's part drama, part comedy, told from the perspective of an eleven year old girl. There's a lot of British slang and street vernacular in it, which is...more
Wow. This was amazing. I was really looking forward to reading this book, but I had no idea what I was in store for. Let me start by saying that I've finished this book, and I still feel in the pit of my stomach that something horrible is going to happen. Yes, it's one of those books. Now, I realize that some people are going to hate this book because a lot of the stuff that happens is a bit over the top, but to me it all seemed to be reasonable. Sure, I'd hope people don't deal with shit the wa...more
fabulous book, made me laugh, made me cry (especially at the end). I'm not usually a fan of modern British novels especially those with chav type characters but this novel really drew me in and in the end I even felt a bit sorry for the head of the Oswald family (evil incarnate!) This is a real roller coaster first novel, not for the faint hearted but I feel the denouement leaves the reader with some sort of hope for the future or maybe I'm too much of an optimist!
When I started this book I didn't think I could finish it as it was a grim reminder of what modern life is or could be like but it gradually reeled me in until I could't put it down. It made me angry,it made me smile and it made me cry.It is ultimately about love in all its forms and what drives people to do what they do in the name of it. I defy you not to feel all emotions when reading it.
Skunk is 11 and in a coma. From her hospital bed she guides the reader through the events in her neighbourhood.

Across the street to Skunk, live the Buckleys, a mild mannered couple with their awkward son Rick. In the same square live the Oswalds, a family of foul-mouth bullies.

Saksia Oswald, out of a bet with her older sister, went for a drive with Rick Buckley, seduced him and then proceeded to humiliate him throughout the neighborhood. Later in the day, Saksia's younger sister was caught with...more
I picked this book up for $4.00 at a used book store. The cover is what drew me in, I love it. Then, I read that it was inspired by 'To Kill a Mockingbird', one of my favorites. This is a classic case of 'don't judge a book by it's cover'. I actually want my$4.00 back.

The synopsis made it sound like a pretty good book. A neighborhood mystery. I started reading it and saw that the main character and narrator was in a coma, that just intrigued me more. Sadly, that was the high point and that was...more
I get your subtle (Or not) hints Daniel. Britain is Broken. Very clever that it is dressed up in a character called Broken but I get what you were saying. Comedy stereotypical shaven headed bullying state scrounging fathers with chav like lying scum slutty daughters take on everyone else. And no one in authority cares. The Police don't care, in all three interactions they are referred too not just "Police" but the "uninterested police", the Doctor doesn't care, the Social workers don't care, The...more
Jan 19, 2012 El rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to El by: Petra
This is one messed up little book.

I'm going to say something here now that I wasn't sure about until I finished the book and read the author interview at the end, but that I think could have helped me enjoy the book more if I had realized it sooner: This book was inspired by To Kill a Mockingbird. I thought it was obvious throughout, but then I started thinking that maybe Clay was going to try to pass it off like it's nothing like Lee's novel, and that concept turned me off. I couldn't get over...more
I'd call this a modern-day 'To Kill A Mockingbird' - and I'm sure that Daniel Clay has based his story on Harper Lee's original novel. Set in a street in modern day Southampton and narrated by Skunk who is laying in a coma and lives with her brother Jed and lawyer single father Archie - the 'Broken' of the title is nineteen year old Rick Buckley who plunges into a spiral of madness after being falsely accused by one of the Oswald sisters. The Oswald family are brilliantly depicted - five tearawa...more
Definitely not for the faint of heart, not only because of the copious profanity and painful bully scenes, but also because of the heart wrenching finale. If you take To Kill a Mockingbird (the main character's name is Skunk, her brother is named Jed, her friend is Dillon, and then there is Broken) and set it in modern day South London, mix in a little Silence of the Lambs and a little Heavenly Bones, then you get a pretty good idea of what this novel reads like. It is certainly very unique and...more
Drawn in from the get go. This isn't the most comfortable of reads but incredibly satisfying. The characters are well drawn, flawed and completely believable. It reminded me of the sadness I felt reading the Lovely Bones. Sadness at the loss of innocence and the everyday failings of ordinary people. This book reminds us that people can be cruel and thoughtless and not everyone has the ability to deal with that as well as they might do. I couldn't put this book down and read it in one sitting. Ex...more
I have to say I enjoyed this book more than an average 3 star rating would allow and was impressed that "To Kill a Mockingbird" was author Daniel Clay's main inspiration for finishing this 'debut' novel (he'd written others that just weren't published).

What truly works is the third-person omniscient POV and then also getting snippets of young Skunk's POV as she floats in limbo between life and death while in a coma. The characters are well developed, even the ones you despise being the Oswald f...more
Like this review? I have more! Come and follow me at Pen to Paper.

This review is going to be a difficult one to write, I think. It may be a good idea for readers of this review to keep reminding themselves of the four star rating that I have given the book. This may get confusing.

I do want everyone reading this to remember that I did like this book. It was compelling, poignant, and gripping throughout. It had deeply affected me by the time I was finished, and it is something that will stay in my...more
After the first few pages, I was turned off by how much Clay was trying to imitate To Kill a Mockingbird in such an obvious manner (i.e. solicitor Archie being the father of Jed and Skunk) but it turned out to be a lot more than that.

There were a couple of things that I thought could have been better. One was the way Clay developed Skunk's character. It's clear he was never an 11 year old girl. He made her thoughts seem way too elementary. Another thing that threw me off was the language in the...more
Aug 10, 2009 Katrina rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Emotional Drama
Page one - what in the world is going on?
One third through - this isn't so bad after all.
Two thirds through - damn, I can't put this down.
Epilogue - wow, what a good book.

Well, that's my mini-review. The full review goes something like this: someone recommended this first novel from a British writer to me and wasn't exactly sure how to describe it. It's part drama, part comedy, told from the perspective of an eleven year old girl. There's a lot of British slang and street vernacular in it, w...more
I have to say, while I really enjoyed this story for the nature of its own content, I was a little disappointed by the alliteration to Mockingbird. I know, I know, the WHOLE point was that it WAS alliterating to Mockingbird.

Call me a purist, but one of the things that really drives Mockingbird is the nature of the ear in which the story takes place. Murder, assault, and rape can happen under any cicumstances, but the Southern ideal of race and class structure drives the alleged rape of Mayella E...more
This was shelved in the Teen section of my library, which I think is a mis-categorization. A good read, though a bit slow to get going, but ultimately quite good and totally gripping for the last 100 pages or so. Reading the author interview appended to the novel was a disappointment, though; it reminded me of how literal - in some ways - *Broken* is a retelling of *To Kill a Mockingbird.* Clay also offers a number of anecdotes from real life that wound up in the novel, saying 'I could never hav...more
Apr 19, 2009 Karen rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people interested in character studies
The author states that this book is his version of To Kill a Mocking Bird. And yes those similarities are present. But I believe the story is good enough to stand on its own.
The story follows the lives of three families and how one bad apple can can rot the whole bunch. I found myself completely engrossed with this story getting quite mad at one family in particular. The Oswald family, the bad apples. They are the ones put there to tear down everything. At times the things this family get away...more
Skunk Cunningham was a bright, curious young girl who was full of energy. She spent most of her free time playing Xbox with her brother Jed and dreaming of her beloved teacher Mr. Jefferies. One afternoon while playing, Skunk and Jed witness a fight between their neighbors. Bob Oswald a loud, widowed biker guy who enjoyed loud music, drugs and drinking ran across the square and beat Rick Buckley nearly to death.

After the incident and a demeaning investigation including a physical exam down at t...more
I LOVED THIS BOOK. I have a feeling though that I'm going to rave about this book and other people will pick it up and say "it was ok."

In a novel with no chapters, Daniel Clay introduces us to Skunk Cunningham, an innocent, curious, loveable young girl who might remind you of Scout Finch from Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird. In fact, Clay actually acknowledge's the book in the end. Skunk (I know Seana, I know), witnesses her terrifying, bully of a neighbor, Bob Oswald attack her other 19-yea...more
Broken is not a bad book. \it just seems to have aspirations beyond what it is -- or rather, what it's capable of being. It is narrated by a young girl, Skunk, as she lies in a coma and leads the reader through the chain of events that led her to this point. The problem for me is that this horrible chain of events is not inevitable -- there are many almost outlandish coincidences that conspire in the culmination of the novel, too many places where I can't believe that no one stepped in. The char...more
Excellent book by a first time novelist. It's about a family who lives across from a violent single father of 5 girls. One day Skunk Cunningham sees her teenage neighbour get beat up by the single father. One of the daughters had lied and accused the teenage boy of raping him. Then everything goes haywire as the book follows the various characters in the neighbourhood.

The author said he was inspired by To Kill a Mockingbird. Skunk is Scout, her brother Jed is Jem, and their gypsy friend Dillion...more
"Broken" is a story told by a young girl named Skunk Cunningham. The story involves three families, the Oswalds, the Cunninghams, and the Buckleys. The three families seem to find themselves in a war because of the Oswalds, their abusive father and their disregarded ways that are entangled within the five daughters. The title indicates the "broken" Rick Buckley who gets beat on by the Oswalds and ends up going crazy and harming other children including skunk who we find out is in a coma.
The cha...more
Amazing. Simply breathtaking. With a childish and innocent voice taking us through skunks life, it reminded me of to Kill a mockingbird, yet this amazing author was able to alternate to the helpess hopeless and dying girl that Skunk became after her encounters. It took us through the sex, love and confusion of life on Dummond, Square, and it redefined what innocence was for me, and it reminded me how few of us still have it, and how lucky we are. Oh my goodness i simply do not have enough words...more
When I saw that this book was inspired by To Kill A Mockingbird, I was sold. Being one of my favorite books, anything based on it would have to be good, right? Not really. I'm not sure when a book goes from being inspired by another to basically recycling it, but I think this book hopped over that line in some aspects. Seriously, the book is about a single father who is a lawyer. His name is Archie. He has two kids, Jed and Skunk. The kids have a friend named Dillon. There's a crazy neighbor - o...more
Certainly a truthful novel, giving an honest account of what it's like to live in modern England, particularly if you happen to have a houseful of people who think an ASBO is a sign of honour down the road. But the over-written stream of consciousness sections, in particular those for Broken Buckey, and for Skunk, are much too reminiscent of the bits of Stephen King novels that you skip through because they are so irritating. Even so, this is worth a read.
The cover of this book caught my eye as soon as I stepped in the store so I felt compelled to buy it. I was initially disappointed and annoyed by the parallels to "To Kill a Mockingbird." After a few chapters, however, it began to tell its own story. I enjoyed it. I think I read a brief review that praised the novel for its ability to connect the reader with the complicated world children face. That is what I liked the most.
Dark, disturbing, emotional, and at times, hilarious.
Daniel Clay birthed a novel that, in many ways, is reminiscent of Harper Lee's "To Kill a Mockingbird", yet it has a solid voice of its own. I recommend this to anyone who likes to read a story that allows you to feel all the emotions one should feel when they read a great novel - anger, shock, joy, sadness - this book has it all.
A fascinating look into the underbelly of England's suburbia. This piece of fiction moves at lightning speed, keep your attention all the way through. Once I picked it up, I couldn't put it down. A great reminder of the innocence of even the most corrupt children. A definite recommendation to both well read and occasional readers alike.
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## About Daniel Clay

Daniel Clay is thirty-seven years old and married with no children. He lives in Hedge End, on the south coast of England.
More about Daniel Clay...