Thursday, 24 January 2013

Carry Me Down by M.J.Hyland

The cover is spot on.

" I look in the Guinness Book of Records and see whether there's anybody who has a gift for lie detection. There's nobody. I will write and tell them I can detect lies. If they decide to test me and I pass the test, I might get in the book, not for breaking a record (like eating the most hard-boiled eggs, or having the longest moustache) but for doing astonishing things."

This is a really interesting book by M.J. Hyland, which continually keeps you guessing as you try to ascertain John's mental state and what is really going on with his parents. Is his father as smart as he makes out, or is he in his own little world also?

At essence it is a dramatic depiction of problematic family life from the perspective of a child with a lot of issues, the least being his accelerated puberty. Given the somewhat unreliable nature of the narrator, the reader is often required to draw their own conclusions in regard to the actions that are taking place and the real motives behind them.

While very clever in its execution, the story just lacks something that would push it into the 5 out of 5 category and it isn't anything I can particularly put my finger on. There is a point where (possible spoilers) John's actions become extreme and as such there is a disconnect with the reader, where they may previously have been hopeful and supportive. Well that was my take anyway. So final score is  4 out of 5, but I suggest picking it up and letting me know what you thought. This would be such a good book club book - much as We Need to Talk About Kevin was.

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