A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this book is rough and gritty, with much swearing, violence, delinquent behavior and attitudes, and weak parenting. Bobby and his thug friends have little concern for consequences and are void of remorse. However, the book is really well written and the characters are genuine and complex. As Bobby is exposed to a more gentle life and good people, his interests and attitudes begin to change, though haltingly and not without relapse. Parents also need to know that the mystery behind the cottage is not resolved.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Bobby leads a reckless life of violence, car theft, and drug abuse in Dublin. Ma moves the family to the country to keep Bobby away from his bad-influence friends. There they rent a cottage from a kind and hardworking farming family. Over time, Bobby learns important things from the family, such as how to work hard and be responsible, and also that the cottage has a mysterious past, including a murdered child and the disappearance of the previous resident. The story follows Bobby's slow, painful, and curvy road toward dignity, while the subtle subplot of the mysterious cottage unfolds with intrigue.
Is it any good?
While Bobby is crass, indignant, criminal, and insensitive, this book is well written and fully engaging. The characters are genuine and complex, and mature readers will want to turn the pages. The author leads the reader through micro-climates in the storyline: One is the thug and drug world of Bobby in Dublin; another is the good, clean, hardworking world of the farm family; and the third world is the mysterious and eerie cottage. Readers will want to know if and how Bobby transforms, and also if the myths about the cottage are real. For those readers who can make their way through some intense delinquency and unapologetic characters, this book will satisfy on many levels.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the idea of belonging to something. Did Bobby belong to anything? Where did he look for belonging, and where did he ultimately find it?
Discuss the role of boredom in Bobby's life. When
he was in the city, boredom led to bad behavior but when he lived in
the country, it led to new learning and discovery. What do you do
when you are bored?
Talk about the wrench that Bobby
bought after earning and saving money for the first time. Why was that
so important to him? Have you ever bought something with money you
earned? What did you buy and why?