Almond, David. 1998. Skellig. 204 pages. (But it's the Large Print edition)
I found him in the garage on a Sunday afternoon.
I was disappointed with this one. I'm not quite sure what I was expecting. It's probably my expectations and/or my mood to blame for the disappointment. Skellig is pretty much unlike every other book I've read. At least that I can recall. It's a strange little book about a strange little man. And my guess is that readers (other readers at least) find him charming. He's a mystery alright. Is he a man? Is he an angel? Is he paranormal or supernatural? Michael, our hero, is a young man--a teen--whose going through a rough time. He's just moved into a new house, an older house that's not quite what it should be. His mom has just had a baby, a girl, but there were complications. She came too early. There are problems with her heart. No one can say for sure, but it's not looking too good. It's a delicate situation. His newborn baby sister is hovering between life and death. And in a way that means the whole family is hovering. When Michael ventures into the garage, he finds an old man sitting there among the shadows and the spiders and the mice droppings and the like. Not quite sure if he's imagining this man or not, Michael eventually seeks proof--he brings his neighbor friend, Mina, to see. Not right away. Not after he's seen him a few times. Not until after he's taken him leftover Chinese food to eat and aspirin to take. But still, Michael needs a friend to validate him. Well, Michael just needs all the friends he can get really.
It's a strange little book about friendship and family. And some people do really like it. I'm just not one of them. Maybe it's because I have a hard time suspending my disbelief that anyone--rather half-man,half-bird or all-angel would live in filth for years surviving on spiders and mice. Letting spiders and rodents and all crawl all over him. Anyway, for readers willing to go there, to believe, this one could work.
© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews
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