Saturday, June 06, 2009

Skellig (MG, YA)


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

5 comments:

Nymeth 11:23 AM  

Sorry to hear it let you down :( I was actually surprised I liked it so much because I can be quite the sceptic, but somehow it really got to me. Better luck with your next read!

Kailana 4:48 AM  

I actually liked this book. I was surprised! People told me I wasn't going to, but I guess I have my unpredictable moments!

Zibilee 1:36 PM  

Sorry this one wasn't great for you. I think it sounds very odd, and that makes me really want to give it a try.

Sarah,  2:12 PM  

This was an amazing book. What is there not to like

Susan 9:23 PM  

I just read it and I loved it! I didn't have a problem believing, because I think that's what the book was about - not religious faith, but belief when there is nothing to hope for, to still have it. I found it wonderful, anyway. But I do take your point. I also thought of him as an angel put on earth to see who would help him - kind of like the fable about helping strangers in distress (especially the old and the sick) - not turning strangers away from your door - it might be Jesus calling. Something along those lines, because there is no religion in the book. But that idea of the sacred in everyone - that one I think the book breathes.

But then again, I didn't like Inkheart very much, so everyone gets to be different! lol I think I'm the only one who doesn't like Inkheart...so I do think this is like that, a book that appeals or doesn't, like you said.

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I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

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