S's Reviews > Half Brother

Half Brother by Kenneth Oppel
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's review
Dec 13, 2010

liked it
Read in November, 2010

** spoiler alert ** I think this would be a good book for a boy to read. Though not a great literary work, it deals well with issues of difficult relationship with 1 parent; moving to a new area/school; getting a girl to "like" you; making friends; choosing friends and asks, "what is real communication?"

It is written in first person. Story is told through the eyes of an 8th grade boy.

Pros: I enjoyed the developing relationship between boy and chimp. The bond is carefully sketched out and the reader falls for the animal and brotherhood, too. The system-strategy the hero develops for getting a girl to like him is quite clever and may be helpful to teenage boys. It's not a bad strategy. Discussion about what communication is was thought provoking.

Cons: The great conflict exists between boy and father. Father doesn't know how to show that he loves. Father is seen as a magnetic, persuasive figure who is supposed to be able to get study-grants/teaching jobs because he is intelligent, charming and forceful. I felt that the author drew the father as one-dimensional. It was difficult to have much sympathy for the father and for the boy as he struggles to have a relationship with him. The reader needed to be shown that the father had some redeeming characteristics/traits long before the story does a sudden turn-around to make the father the repentant, reformed father. Sorry but people don't change that fast or that completely.


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