Possibly one of the most talked about books of the year, Meg Rosoff’s novel for young adults is the winner of the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize 2004. Heralded by some as the next best adult crossover novel since Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, who himself has given the book a thunderously good quote, this author’s debut is undoubtedly stylish, readable and fascinating.
Rosoff’s story begins in modern day London, slightly in the future, and as its heroine has a 15-year-old Manhattanite called Daisy. She’s picked up at the airport by Edmond, her English cousin, a boy in whose life she is destined to become intricately entwined. Daisy stays at her Aunt Penn’s country farmhouse for the summer with Edmond and her other cousins. They spend some idyllic weeks together–often alone with Aunt Penn away travelling in Norway. Daisy’s cousins seem to have an almost telepathic bond, and Daisy is mesmerized by Edmond and soon falls in love with him. But their world changes forever when an unnamed aggressor invades England and begins a years-long occupation. Daisy and Edmond are separated when soldiers take over their home, and Daisy and Piper, her younger cousin, must travel to another place to work. Their experiences of occupation are never kind and Daisy’s pain, living without Edmond, is tangible. Rosoff’s writing style is both brilliant and frustrating. Her descriptions are wonderful, as is her ability to portray the emotions of her characters. However, her long sentences and total lack of punctuation for dialogue can be exhausting. Her narrative is deeply engaging and yet a bit unbelievable. The end of the book is dramatic, but too sudden. The book has a raw, unfinished feel about it, yet that somehow adds to the experience of reading it. (Age 14 and over) –John McLay
Post at least three entries over the course of the next three weeks.
Your writing is to be formal and highly sophisticated, so do not ignore grammatical conventions, spelling intricacies or methods of punctuation.
- What are the big ideas being explored by the author? What are the two major themes of your text and how does the author incorporate them into the story? Which character(s) highlight these big ideas or themes and in what ways. Choose one or two.
- Choose one major incident from the novel and explain what happens for those who have not read the text.
- Now visit another page and comment on one of the other texts either by clarifying what is written or commenting on what has been said. Try to ask some challenging questions about the text, not simply asking about plot or the story line.