Wednesday, March 11, 2009


I recently read two very good books by unfamiliar authors, both from the point of view of a child.

In the first, Asta in the Wings, by Jan Elizabeth Watson, the reader is drawn through Asta's world as it expands dramatically. In the second, When We Were Romans, by Matthew Kneale, nine year old Lawrence tries to make sense of his paranoid mother's actions.

What makes these books work so well, is how pitch-perfect the first person narrative voices are. Both authors have captured the mind of a child - I think - by revealing so trickily what the child doesn't know, without the character even realizing it. And by revealing that gap in knowledge, you are pulled further into the plot. It's just so fun to read. Another wonderful example of this is The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, by Mark Haddon.

All three of these titles had an air of mystery to them (Haddon's actually being a murder mystery of sorts), all because the world of a child is full of the unknown, and the strange doings of adults. All three are gripping, enjoyable and the sort of book your sad to see end.

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