Eileen's Reviews > Skellig

Skellig by David Almond
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Jan 06, 2009

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Read in September, 2008

My interpretation of Skellig is that he is a more highly evolved version of humans. As Mina says “There’s no end to evolution. We have to be ready to move forward. Maybe this is not how we are meant to be forever.” Skellig still retains a human form, but has characteristics of birds and the healing power of angels. He starts out in a decrepit garage with his wings bound and hidden. He is alone and in great pain. He is removed from these surroundings, shown some love and has his wings unbound. Only then does he begin to feel better. He is taken to Mina’s grandfather’s house which is also quite rundown. Skellig manages to rise to the top floor of the house where there is light and a window. He is being fed not just by Michael and Mina, but the owls too.

Skellig goes where there is a need for healing that goes beyond modern medicine, where the power of hope and love is needed. Michael’s family is in just such a situation as his baby sister is seriously ill. Michael asks Dr. MacNabola “Can love help a person to get better?” At the end of the exchange Michael notes that Dr. MacNabola “smiled properly for the first time”. A similar change is noted in Skellig. Several times early in the book Michael notices that Skellig “laughed but he didn’t smile”. As Skellig regains his strength and powers he begins to really smile again. Early in the book, Michael notes that Dr. Death “didn’t know how to smile”. Later, as the doctor is examining Michael after the sleepwalking incident, Michael explains “Dr. Death tried to smile but his eyes stayed stupid and cold”.

Michael’s mother sees Skellig the night before the baby’s operation and believes she is dreaming. She explains about the man dressed in black who danced with the baby and how the baby had transparent wings. She slept soundly the rest of the night and somehow knew in the morning everything would be alright. It was! Skellig will move onto the next place where he is needed. Michael asks “Where will you go?” Skellig “shrugged, pointed out to the sky. “Somewhere,” he said.

The power of positive thinking seems a bit clichéd, but perhaps that is part of the message that Almond is trying to convey. At the end of the book, the baby is aptly named Joy.
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