Newest Review: ... most 12 year old boys are when they have 6 weeks off school.He intends to spend his time with his friend and neighbour Luke who lives wit... more
The fallout and aftermath of a terrible accident
The Dare - John Boyne
Member Name: pmcds
The Dare - John Boyne
Advantages: Well written, good perspective of storytelling
Disadvantages: Potentially harrowing subject matter
I wasn't sure of the subject matter of this book, as I have a young son myself. Nevertheless, I have been impressed with the majority of the Quick Reads books I have read recently, and so I gave it a go. It deals with the aftermath of an accident where a young boy has been run over, and how the woman driving the car is affected, as well as her family.
It's told from the perspective of the woman's 12 year old son, Danny Delaney, and thus reads very much like a children's book, as if a child had written it. The subject matter, though, is probably not best for a child to read, and I would suggest it aims more at teens and young adults than anyone else.
The writing style is very flowing and to the point, leaving no room for any digression or flowing and descriptive passages. This works very well with such a sensitive and potentially harrowing subject matter, as it means that it leaves a bit to the imagination, inviting you to form mental images of the events of the book. The title only becomes relevant halfway through when Danny meets the family of the boy who was run over.
I felt the point of the book was more to show how something as serious as this can not just affect one person, but how the knock on effects can be devastating for those around them as well. As Danny's mum becomes more distant and his dad focuses solely on her, Danny finds himself wishing his elder brother would return from travelling as he is feeling very alone. This is when he meets the other family.
It's curious how author John Boyne develops his characters, painting a rather morose picture but also making sure it has the innocence of a 12 year old in some of the circumstances. It therefore glosses over some of the more harrowing elements of such an event and makes you do the thinking and the mental images I mentioned earlier. Boyne writes very well, and I found it quite hard to put the book down.
The book is rather easy to read, and as the Quick Reads books are designed to encourage people to read when they otherwise wouldn't, by getting established authors and celebrities to put pen to paper in a short story. The shortness of this story means that it flows quite quickly, and despite having to forge your own mental images, it doesn't let you dwell on them so long as you read them all in one go.
It's really well written, and as long as you can stomach the topic of the book, then it's a good read. I personally still found it very hard to read for this reason (and this reason only), and so it's not one I would recommend to anyone else I know who has young kids. It retails for £2.99, although the majority of the Quick Reads books are available for less if you have a look round.
Summary: John Boyne's short story about the aftermath of a car accident