I "read" this as an audio book read by the amazing Miriam Margolyes - and yes, I listen to this (and Alice in Wonderland) in the car. The benefit of t...moreI "read" this as an audio book read by the amazing Miriam Margolyes - and yes, I listen to this (and Alice in Wonderland) in the car. The benefit of the audio book was Margolyes incredible ability to bring out so many different voicesin the text - however the drawback was not being able to read the text alongside the iconic illustrations, and Carroll didn't work on describing the scene very deeply - and some text-based exercises (such as the backwards writing and the acrostic poetry) may have been lost if I didn't know it was already there.
I think this will be staying in my car over this summer, so I can listen to both this and "Wonderland" again!(less)
**spoiler alert** I found this young adult, easy-reading book a lovely exploration of a boy's transition from the sheltered environment of home-school...more**spoiler alert** I found this young adult, easy-reading book a lovely exploration of a boy's transition from the sheltered environment of home-schooling to a "proper" school quite sweet. Okay, August has a significant facial deformity which makes this transition bigger than most, but it is still a story about fitting in and whether it's better to accept what you are or try to change how others see you.
The reason I would describe August's appearance as secondary is that the story is told from the perspectives of a number of characters, each revealing that they too are going through similar transitions - and are no less alone or vulnerable than the "poor kid we have to find inspirational."
Reading this as an adult, the book might have had a slightly less significant impact on me, especially as I have a very cynical outlook and incredibly low threshold for sentimentality - however I kind of wish there'd been a book like this when I was younger.
There is, unfortunately, one part of this story I have to call bulldust on - and that's the convenience of the bully leaving the school, as well as the teaching staff being even aware of bullying. In my own experience the bullies never leave, never get asked to leave and perhaps demonstrating how to deal with bullies (rather than waiting for them to either magically leave or an inter-school incident that wins others to August's side) would have made the book a little more useful and realistic to the young adults this speaks to. (less)
Being Banned Books week, I decided to revisit a favourite book of mine when I was younger, but a teacher decided to censor sections of the book (even...moreBeing Banned Books week, I decided to revisit a favourite book of mine when I was younger, but a teacher decided to censor sections of the book (even though at the time I had no idea why.)
Funnily enough, I enjoyed returning to the book - while some of the dialogue was stilted (especially the Scottish English), I remembered why this was a good story to read when I was about 11. Funnier still was when I told my friends I was re-reading it they all remembered how much they enjoyed the story.
Australian children's and young adult literature of the 1980s was a very interesting place to grow up in - we were too old for Snugglepot and Cuddlepie, and wanted stories in our own accents. This is why it was such a good book for schools - even if some teachers decided to censor parts...(less)