“ Author: Gillian Cross / Format: Paperback / Date of publication: 01 July 2010 / Genre: Children's Horror & Ghost Stories / Publisher: Oxford University Press / Title: The Dark Behind the Curtain / ISBN 13: 9780192731630 / ISBN 10: 0192731630 / Alternative EAN: 9780192751492 „
The Dark Behind the Curtain is a fantastic book for 8 - 15 year olds written by Gillian Cross and published in 1982.
I'm not on the whole a fan of horror / thriller style novels but got this book a few years ago in a Gillian Cross set and so never being the sort of person to simply ignore a book sat on my bookshelf I duly picked it up and delved in.
The story itself is quite dark in places as the book tells the tale of Jackus who hates being in the school play. This hatred of the play however soon turns into fear, as once rehearsals begin Jackus is constantly plagued with fright as inexplicable things start to happen. Things that simply cannot be rationally explained begin to occur and the lines between acting and reality and soon sufficiently blurred that not only Jackus but those around him have trouble realise when those on stage are acting and when they are not.
Things however get progressively worse and Jackus' fear builds and builds. To make matter so much worse a disaster seems to be looming over the whole production and no one else but Jackus seems to be able to see it. As fear grips him however will he be able to pluck up the courage to stop the incident occurring or is he too captured by his fear to act. He must either break his fear barriers and act or stand by and watch all the others act out the tragedy to the end.
In my opinion Gillian Cross has with this novel created a very intense and dramatic story that rally suits her prose style and her love of character development. I found myself quite quickly been drawn to Jackus' character and able to sympathise with him as well as jeer him on from very early on in the novel. The fact that some of the other characters choose not to believe what Jackus tells them also made me feel sorry for him as he was pushed aside and dismissed and in a way made me want those that shunned him to get what was around the corner.
I first read this novel aged about 14 and even at that age did find myself wanting to look over my shoulder a little. At times the novel made me feel a little uncomfortable but not in a really bad way just in a, this book is telling the story exactly the way it should, sort of way. I can see however how the book may frighten slightly younger or more delicate children due to the effect it had on me as the Dark Behind the Curtain is ultimately a dark book with the intent to scare or at least make you shiver a bit.
Despite all of this the book however is highly entertaining and I really must say that I enjoyed reading it. Because it was different from most other books I had ever read I had no prejudgments about the novel and in this way was able to be drawn into the world Gillian Cross had created without questioning.
This book is therefore one I would highly recommend but I would suggest that someone buying it for a young child consider whether the children will scare to easily, as if this were to happen the book would not be enjoyable and may put the child of reading books in such a genre again. Everything considered though I really enjoyed this novel and will definitely read it again at some point.