3 out of 4 stars
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A Bloody Book by Chris Bowen is an emotive young adult novel that deals with heartbreakingly real situations. The book is written from an eighth grade boy’s perspective about his place in society and how he came to be where he is today. Maxx starts writing a book when his teacher from “Reading Hell” gives them an assignment in Grade 8, but he only finishes it years later. It is an essay of how Maxx came to “not give a crap” about life. The book follows Maxx’s story consisting of death, pain and even murder.
This short book is extremely thought-provoking, deep and real. What I loved about this book was how well the main character was described. Every situation he goes through, the reader will experience with him. I can personally not relate to this book, but the idea that this plot is the reality for so many people and especially children, is heartbreaking. This book opens a window into the lives of these abandoned children living in poverty and domestic abuse. The way in which the author describes the packages of milk powder the character uses and how even those had to be rationed, is one of the things that broke me the most while reading.
I felt that what happened at the end of the book was a little forced and that there were probably other better alternative possibilities, but overall it does make sense and integrated very well with the shocking plot twist. The reality of thinking about what a child has to go through to reach that ending is extremely hard to fathom, but the thoughts of this boy makes it easier to understand and that in itself is heartbreaking.
This book is not your usual, fun and easy to read Young Adult book. It is hard and emotional, but necessarily so. I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. It was an excellent read although the voice of the narrator is purposefully suited to his age and experience and that made it seem as though some of the grammar was incorrect.
This book can also be used as a great tool for teachers to get insight on children living in difficult environments and how to treat them in a manner that is sensitive to their situation. It has examples of both good and extremely bad teachers and shares the actual thoughts and feelings of the children.
I recommend this book to anyone who has experienced poverty and domestic abuse or anyone who wants to know and understand more about what these people go through. The book will follow through and explain every incomprehensible situation. As the author puts it: “Start for the story. Care for the characters. Stay for the twist.”
A Bloody Book
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