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A "Kestral for a knave" is probably the best book ever, Billy a normal school boy but with a twist of a bad life, losing his Dad and being left with his Mom and Brother Jud. His Mom is a very lazy women goes out everynight and brings strange men home Jud is the man of the house because he is the older boy he's the one who earns the money in the house. Goes out every saturday and spends his money thinking he's all this. When really he's nasty to Billy he beats him up with physical and verbal abuse. Billy's mom always sticks up for Jud never for Billy she's not very comforting and doesn't like helping Billy.
He "Billy" found a Kestral that he called "Kes" and he talks to it like it's his mother he tells it everything and never let it go hungry he see's it every day and he even misses his dinner to go and feed Kes he cares more for the Kestral than anything eles.
I haven't bothered to do a "My All Time Favourite Books" list yet, but when I do get round to it, this will be positioned in the upper reaches somewhere.
A Kestrel for a Knave, was written by Barry Hines, and published in 1968. It is set in Barnsley, and tells the story of Billy Casper, a working class schoolboy. It is clear from the narrative that he comes from a home where the father is absent, his brother, Jed is a bit of a bully and he takes his troubles from home, to school - it seems that something is always on his mind as he cannot concentrate at school - it would seem he is not interested, the simple fact is that no-one seems interested in him.
Billy, appropriates a book and from it learns about birds of prey. He chances upon a kestrel which he rears and this gets him some positive attention from a schoolmaster for a change. It is sometimes too easy to review a book by telling the story, which spoils things somewhat for the reader, so I will go no further with the story.
At face value this is a story of the sadness of working class life 'up-north' and how one young man copes with it. There are many other readings to this book though and I highly recommend it.
One of the few books I enjoyed in the course of my English lessons. Unpretentious, accessible and realistic, it showed the life of a Northern lad in an uncompromising light. The kestrel was Billy's only, unexpected way out of the life of petty crime he seemed to, almost by default, be settling into.
With the exception of one teacher and a librarian, everyone around him was as grim and gritty in personality as North England is portrayed. The sports master, especially, is a bit of a bastard, but still manages to be humanised by his love of football.
Essentially, Billy is a proto-environmentalist (the book was written in 1968, after all), something that was hard to understand in the South, never mind the hard-as-nails North. Misunderstood by almost everyone, including his own family - such as it is: No father of any description, Billy shares a bed with his half-brother and the house with an uncaring mother who appears to enjoy affections of the negotiable sort.
Don't expect a happy ending. This <i>is</i> the North, after all.
An essential read.
I was made to read this book as part of my gcse coursework and exams and to be honest the first time i read it i found it very boring. This is possibly because i was reading it in class and often other people would be reading it out loud (poorly). However, after i had watched the movie based on the book, i read the book again to get a more in depth understanding and found it a lot more interesting. I think that this was for several reasons. One was that i could put faces to the characters and imagine the story in my head as i read the book. Another is that i think that the second time i read it i took my time, as i had already absorbed the most important information. I found that you only appreciate this book if you take time to think about what is happening in the book, and read between the lines. This book is very clever in that the author not only writes a story, but (and i know this sounds odd) writes a picture, including very important details about Billy (the main characters) surroundings, which displays his emotions. This book really makes you think. I would recommend to anyone else who is forced to read the book to read it more than once and to try to imagine the story happening. To everyone else, i would recommend that if you read the book you should take your time over it because if you rush it its not as good.
A Kestrel for a Knave written by Barry Hines, a book that is structured in a series of flashbacks. The past is mixed in with the present. A moving book that focus’s on the relationship between one boy, Billy Casper and his hawk. The Hawk brings something into Billy’s life, something worth living for. Something he was lacking before. His home life is a mixture of bitterness and loneliness, nobody loves him or cares for him, and his older brother makes lives for worse for him. Constantly bullying him, and destroying any happiness he may have. School is no better than home, the school’s policy is one of punishment, the cane will be used if it has to, and Billy is usually at the end of the punishment. The Hawk is a contrast to every other part of Billy’s life, it’s brings excitement and joy into his life, and for the first time in his life he is interested in it, even going to the library to steal a book about Hawks shows he is committed. The Hawk is more than a friend and is a pet he can talk to, without getting verbal abuse. Later in the book, Billy’s life is destroyed, someone has taken the Hawk from him, his life is back to square one, This is a good read, well written book showing how a Hawk can change a boy’s outlook on life and how that is taken away from him by his bullying brother. I read this book when I was studying for my GCSE, and still think it is an excellent book.
In a harsh, northern, small town environment, a boy finds release through his rearing and training of a kestrel.