Sophie's Reviews > The Terrible Thing That Happened to Barnaby Brocket

The Terrible Thing That Happened to Barnaby Brocket by John Boyne
Rate this book
Clear rating

by
2318227
's review
Aug 28, 12

bookshelves: for-review
Read from August 07 to 14, 2012

The Terrible Thing That Happened to Barnaby Brocket is my first book by John Boyne and I was rather apprehensive. I’d heard countless good things about his brilliant and always sad novels, but I'm so glad I gave it a chance.

Right from the beginning of the novel, John Boyne celebrates being different. Being normal is boring and being different leads to adventures and unique experiences that painfully ‘normal’ people like Barnaby’s parents will never experience. I love how Boyne repeatedly empathises how one person’s normal isn’t necessarily another person’s normal. In this he really endorses individuality which is so important in a society where following the fashions and the rest of the crowd seems to be the only possibility.

Aside from the message, my favourite element of The Terrible Thing That Happened to Barnaby Brocket is all of the fascinating people Barnaby meets on his travels around the world. But even so, each of these people has embraced their individuality and broken away from the people trying to restrict them and turn them into their version of normal. You have two old ladies who moved to Brazil to work on a cacao farm; a businessman’s son disinherited to become an artist and a badly scarred man becoming a famous journalist. Each person helps Barnaby along the way and teaches him a little bit about appreciating his floating.

I loved the way that this novel emulated one of my favourite childhood authors: Roald Dahl. The story is whimsical and bursting with magic realism just like Dahl’s novels and the writing is witty, humorous and so, so easy to read. There’s also the evil nature of lots of adults, especially parents, and the spattering of black and white ink illustrations that bring Barnaby and his adventures to life.

I loved The Terrible Thing That Happened to Barnaby and I now realise that I’ll have to be brave and go back and read his first two children’s novel.
likeflag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read The Terrible Thing That Happened to Barnaby Brocket.
sign in »

No comments have been added yet.