Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Unforgotten Coat

The Unforgotten Coat. Frank Cottrell Boyce. Photographs by Carl Hunter and Clare Heney. 2011. Candlewick. 112 pages.

I hadn't seen this photograph since the day it was taken, until now. Even so, I can tell you anything you want to know about it. 

Julie, our narrator, remembers two Mongolian boys who joined her class the second week of summer term. The novel has a reflective feel to it. She remembers their strangeness at first. Their coats. Who wears coats in summer?! But there is something fascinating about their strangeness, their newness too. And the two ask Julie to be their good guide.

These two boys act really strange. They do. Julie does try to understand their culture, their country, their beliefs, their customs. But it's a strange new world, in a way. For example, like the time they invite themselves over to her house, and beg Julie's mom to let them do an emergency baking so they can bake a dough boy to trick the demon that is after them. (They want to trick this demon into eating the dough boy instead of one of them.) And that isn't the only unusual incident.

I can't tell you exactly what happens next, if these two "vanish" as they fear they might or not. But I can say that it is a one weird story about (illegal) immigration.

Honestly, this one left me confused. I almost feel silly for being so confused. But if this one was supposed to wow me or charm me, I just didn't get it. The use of photographs was nice, but I'm not sure exactly what story they're telling. How they fit in with the whole story.

I did like the author's note, for the most part. And I wanted to like this one more than I did.

© 2011 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

1 comment:

thereadingpanda said...

I am so curious now! I feel like I have to read it to try to find out why it is so confusing.