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Michelle

Boy A by Jonathan Trigell

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Kell received this as a LT Early Reviewer's book, and has kindly offered it as a book ring. If you've read it, it would be nice if you could share your thoughts in this thread.

 

Synopsis:

'A is for Apple. A bad apple.'Jack has spent most of his life in juvenile institutions, to be released with a new name, new job, new life. At 24, he is utterly innocent of the world, yet guilty of a monstrous childhood crime.To his new friends, he is a good guy with occasional flashes of unexpected violence. To his new girlfriend, he is strangely inexperienced and unreachable. To his case worker, he's a victim of the system and of media-driven hysteria. And to himself, Jack is on permanent trial: can he really start from scratch, forget the past, become someone else? Is a new name enough? Can Jack ever truly connect with his new friends while hiding a monstrous secret?This searing and heartfelt novel is a devastating indictment of society's inability to reconcile childhood innocence with reality.

 

(If you'd like to join the book ring, take a look at this thread.)

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The writing style was a bit difficult to 'get into' at first but then the story starts to flow once you have the hang of it.

I like the way it moves from person to person and through different times (before, during and after)

Quite a controversial topic to write a story on but I suppose it's a very unrepresented story. I'm not sure if I liked the ending. It fits with the style of the book but it's quite ambiguous (sp).

 

It gets the old grey matter thinking and debating on a controversial subject. A very interesting read.

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I thought it very cleverly-written in that it's very clear that the main character has done something quite monstrous in his past, yet you find yourself sympathising with him as he tries to put together a normal life for hinself and stay out of trouble. It gives a real feeling of how precarious life can be and his balancing act is intriguing and, at points, quite heartbreaking. there are also people who genuinely care for him; some who know of his past and others who don't, and you can't help wondering how those who don't know will react if and when the truth comes out. All the way through, I found myself desperately hoping that nobody would ever put two and two together, as I really wanted him to have a fighting chance, which is a strange feeling considering what he has done.

 

It's quite hard-hitting and has vague similarities to a real-life case (if anyone remembers the Jamie Bulger case 15 years ago, you'll see what I mean), and the furore surrounding the release and providing of alternative identities for Venables and Thompson - seeing things from the other side can make this very difficult for some readers to continue with the novel, but it's well worth it. The writing is both sensative and hard-hitting - a winning combination at any time - and deals with things in such a way that it really gets you thinking about how The System works (or, on occasion, doesn't work).

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I was a bit apprehensive about reading this not really sure what to expect. However I found myself gripped from the first page to the last. Predominately this story has to be described as thought-provoking, not only do you find yourself exploring the issues concerned but sometimes you find yourself looking at your own reactions. True that the format of the narrative manipulates them by revealing the story bit by bit but equally I feel this serves to take the black and white out of the situation and allows the reader to consider its complexities. I finished this last night; 24 hours later I’m still mulling it over, seeing patterns and thinking and rethinking. It seems trite to say I’ve been on a journey but I do feel that genuinely.

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It does beceom more clear as you go on - I think it's intentionally confusing in the beginning to throw you off-kilter and get you onside with a character that under normal circumstances you might automatically decide to hate.

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