I can't say that I was overly impressed with this book. New Boy is about young Herschelle van der Merwe who recently came from Cape Town, South AfriI can't say that I was overly impressed with this book. New Boy is about young Herschelle van der Merwe who recently came from Cape Town, South Africa and moved in to One Mile Creek, just out of Brisbane, Australia. He tries to come to terms with his former reality in Cape Town and his new reality in Australia.
The culture shock Herschelle faces is meant to amusingly highlight the differences between Australian terms and phrases and those of South Africa. To me, it came across as too forced. It seems that author, Nick Earls, took down a few Afrikaan terms and some Australian phrases and then thought "Let's put that in the book to show that Herschelle and his family is having a hard time understanding and fitting in." So we got things like Josie (Herschelle's Mum) bring an empty plate to a school function when asked to bring a plate and questions like "Do they actually stone any crows?".
I felt that it was somewhat unrealistic that while dining at "a nearby Thai place called Thai-Ryffic", Josie (who has only been in Australia for a few weeks) would cause such a scene about 'kaffir lime leaves', stating to a staff member "What kind of racist place is this? Don't you have any coloured people here? It's Thai food. What are you doing using the... 'k-word'?" Apparently 'kaffir' is a racist term for coloured people in Afrikaan, which I would understand may get Josie and her family somewhat offended, however I feel that Josie's reaction would be one for befitting Herschelle (though I doubt that he would feel comfortable enough to make a scene about it). After reading this chapter, I was left wondering, would Josie understand that she's in a new country and, although offended by the term, either sit in uncomfortable silence or leave. Also I would have thought that, being the adult, she would have processed that maybe being in a new country things may have a different meaning than what she understands it to be.
On a positive note, I liked the way Earls handled the issue of bullying. I'm glad that he did not make one scene where Herschelle was discriminated against and then call that "bullying", there was a gradual build up to the final bullying scene. I'm not sure that a school would handle the incident in the way that the principal, Mr Browning, did, however it was good to highlight the racism and bullying themes in that way. I especially liked that Herschelle's reaction was along the lines of "they're calling it racism, but I'm white".
Overall, the themes covered in the book were good, however I would have liked to have seen it written in a more realistic way....more
My daughter wanted me to read this book to her, so it became a bedtime story. She fell asleep through most of it, while I came away thinking it was "aMy daughter wanted me to read this book to her, so it became a bedtime story. She fell asleep through most of it, while I came away thinking it was "alright".
There were too many instances where I could pick what was going to happen before they actually did. A few twists that I didn't see coming. I thought it was a bit strange that Janey Brown could only be a spy when she became Jane Blonde. If her uncle had been training her since she was young, I would have thought that all that spy stuff would happen naturally, not just when she got her hair dyed and donned the spy suit.
I enjoyed the spy gadgets and I felt the names were pretty creative; especially her Wower (Spy Shower), which turned into Jane Blonde or back to Janey Brown.
I felt that the plot was forced in some instances and had to overlook several character flaws - in that certain characters would act one way and then to make the plot work, things were overlooked to make the story work the way the writer wanted it.
Overall, it was an alright read and my daughter now has me reading the second book....more
I read this book to my three-year-old daughter over several nights while putting her to bed. Needless to say, it put her to sleep very quickly, whereI read this book to my three-year-old daughter over several nights while putting her to bed. Needless to say, it put her to sleep very quickly, where it got to the point that whenever I said that I would read the book to her, she started crying and saying "No! Don't read it!" simply because she would always fall asleep to it. But, that's a three-year-old's perspective!
I actually enjoyed the book, although it was rather slow going. I liked the colourful vocabulary used and the way it all tied together in the end, but some of the characters were quite annoying. (view spoiler)[Whenever the Magician and Madam La Vaughn met at the prison and went round in circles with their conversation about the elephant falling on top of La Vaughn, I was ready to skip to the next chapter. Or when Vilna Lutz went on about being a soldier, I was quite happy to shut the book. (hide spoiler)] However, I was interested to find out how the Elephant would help Peter track down his long lost sister, Adele; which is the main reason why I stayed with the book.
It was actually quite a sad tale, even though it all seemed to work out in the end.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
This book actually finishes on page 976; it's only if you want to read about the Game of Thrones Houses or part of the first chapter of Dance of DragoThis book actually finishes on page 976; it's only if you want to read about the Game of Thrones Houses or part of the first chapter of Dance of Dragons that you'd go page 1060.
Anyway, I'd have to say that this book was quite a struggle to get through - too many boring bits that I felt could have been cut out or cut short. I can see why the TV Series has made a few changes from the story (not that I've watched this particular part yet).
I was fascinated by the characters of Brienne, Cersei, Jamie, Arya and Sansa to begin with, but was only holding on to Arya's and Jamie's story by the end of the book. Cersei's story was okay, but I felt that there was so much thinking going on that could have been discarded. It would have left the main point of her story still interesting, without having to deal with the task of culling the rubbish. I wanted to see how Sansa's character evolved and even didn't mind that she changed her name to Alayne (because I figured that this would move her story on), but I must say, it was quite boring. The same happened with Brienne and her quest for Sansa... it just went on and on. I thought everything about the Wall and Samwell was uninteresting; spoilt mostly by too much waffling on.
When it comes down to it, I enjoyed the story that Martin is trying to tell, I just didn't like having to wade through so much detail to get to the point....more