You’ll catch your death…

Wow, I didn’t see this little book coming…

Full of urban myths, old-wives tales and heart-felt mother’s warnings, Of a Boy by Sonya Hartnett plays on the deep set fears of its characters and its readers.

It begins by recounting the disturbing disappearance of the Metford children and strays little from this parents-worst-nightmare until its conclusion. Made all the more affecting, the story is relayed via Adrain, a small and troubled boy who is almost as lost as the three missing children.

Adrain makes friends, looses friends, and struggles to find his place in his small, suburban world.  He fears quicksand, the dark and being abandoned, again.

This novel is quite strangely paced, and it wasn’t really until about half-way through the book that I felt a real pull from the tale. Until this point I was a little disengaged from the main character, and somewhat distracted by a bit of cultural cringe. I suspect that this might be mostly as a result of the fact that I’m not very used to reading Australian Literature. Harnett has worked very hard in her attempt to make the time and place recognisable for the reader.

Nonetheless, as I said, any irritation eased as I got further into the book and as I started to feel a real desperation for young Adrian.

Picture: Renee Nowytarger Source: The Australian

One thing which has really fascinated me about the author of this novel is the fact that the audience for Hartnett’s work is so diverse. Sonya writes often for children and teenagers, in addition to her adult novels.  This is a fairly rare undertaking and I’m interested in doing a bit of a comparison. I’ve picked up a copy of Thursday’s Child, published in 2000 for a young adult readership and I’m going to spend a little time with it. I’ll report back.

In the meantime, this novel is a quick read, but not an easy one.  It is a moving story, and in its own quiet way, a frightening one.  It is well worth your time.

Buy your own copy of Of a Boy at the TBYL Store!

Join us:  
 Facebook  and  Twitter