Review: The Boy who Lived with Ghosts

Discuss the October 2013 book of the month "The Boy who Lived with Ghosts" by John Mitchell.
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Tigania
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Latest Review: "The Boy who Lived with Ghosts" by John Mitchell

Review: The Boy who Lived with Ghosts

Post by Tigania » 28 Sep 2013, 16:59

[Following is a review of "The Boy who Lived with Ghosts" by John Mitchell.]

My Review of "The Boy who Lived with Ghosts"

"The Boy who Lived with Ghosts" is an unusual story, written from the perspective of John, a young boy who lives in England during the 1960's and 1970's. The story follows John from the ages of five to thirteen. It tells the tale of John and his family, who are poverty stricken, prone to selfishness, alcoholism and madness. Darkly disturbing, the story explores issues of abandonment, neglect and abuse. Not your typical ghost story! The spirits who haunt John throughout his young life are subtle, yet frightening. Despite the dark themes, there is still humor rollicking throughout the plot. The reader will experience a full range of emotions and find themselves at first intently disliking John's family members, but finally sympathetic to the characters' plights and tribulations.

Due to the story being told through a child's point of view, I thought the story would be simplistic and childish. By the end of the first page, I had completely changed my mind! Instead, by viewing the story through a child's eye, I experienced a myriad of complex emotions regarding the adult world. To John, the neglect and selfishness of his parents is nothing out of the ordinary. The daily abuse by his sister, and the terrifying haunting noises are commonplace. His fears and hopes are both heart-warming, and heart-rending, leaving the reader in constant emotional turmoil. Reading as an adult, the actions and words of the people in John's life are horrifying.

I read this novel in the space of six hours, eyes firmly riveted to the page, as I followed John on his journey to young adulthood. The supporting characters were well-rounded and very detailed, which again, I was not expecting viewing through the eyes of a child. It was difficult at first to sympathize with these characters, yet slowly, they pulled me in to their inner darkness, despair, hope and faith. The plot kept me turning pages at an increasingly quick pace.

Beautifully constructed, the story itself had a smooth and consistent rhythm, keeping the reader intently focused, and eager to discover more. The writing itself was superb, the language clearly understood and concise. This story will continue to haunt me for many days on a deeply emotional level. Expecting a typical ghost story, I was instead exposed to a roller-coaster of emotions, and insights of a deeply troubled family. Yet despite this, John still manages to keep both his hope, and faith alive.

"The Boy who Lived with Ghosts" receives a solid FOUR STARS for the wonderful writing, the compelling tale, and the rich three-dimensional characters. Due to the seriousness of the themes, I would recommend this book to people over the ages of sixteen.

***
Buy "The Boy who Lived with Ghosts" on Amazon

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K08nr01
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Post by K08nr01 » 30 Sep 2013, 09:23

I have only heard great things about this book. Thanks for pushing me towards reading it!

feyindie60
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Post by feyindie60 » 09 Oct 2013, 23:19

Just read the first 40 pages in a teaser. Of course I had to order this book. The author's approach has sucked me in right from the start. Sometimes I feel like I'm reliving scenes from my life.Sometimes I'm watching a movie. Sometimes I'm in psychology class again. You have just encouraged my interest! Can't wait for the mail!

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gpkipling
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Post by gpkipling » 10 Oct 2013, 20:15

When was this book written and have they thought or is there a movie done on this?

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Zannie
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Post by Zannie » 15 Oct 2013, 02:50

This book was published this year. (2013) As of this post no movie has been made. It is a worthwhile read.

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lyla_ibrahim
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Post by lyla_ibrahim » 18 Oct 2013, 20:39

Great review. I always love reading memoirs and might just be picking this up.

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Post by katielgorton3 » 31 Mar 2014, 18:53

Defnitely putting this on my reading list!

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Post by H0LD0Nthere » 31 Mar 2014, 21:01

What a terrific review. It sounds like a really well-written book, but not one I could bear to read at this time in my life because of the sadness.

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Post by raindropwriter » 04 Jul 2014, 07:25

A very well written review. Well done. You have inspired me. I steer away from serious books because I'm a very emotional person. So, I would not be reading it but you never know. When I'm in mood I might! Thanks for the review.

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Post by GKCfan » 14 Sep 2014, 00:02

I find the term "3-D characters" interesting. How much detail, development, and complexity are needed to make a character one-dimensional, two-dimensional, or three-dimensional? What are the dividing lines, and for what reasons might people disagree on a designation?

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H0LD0Nthere
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Post by H0LD0Nthere » 15 Sep 2014, 21:40

GKCfan wrote:I find the term "3-D characters" interesting. How much detail, development, and complexity are needed to make a character one-dimensional, two-dimensional, or three-dimensional? What are the dividing lines, and for what reasons might people disagree on a designation?
You should start a whole new thread to discuss this, I think.

When I see the phrase "3-D characters" (misspelled or not), what comes to mind is that the characters feel like real people. We, the reader, feel like they are someone we know in real life. I would say you can do this with more or less detail, depending on how much "onscreen time" the character needs in the plot.

A great recent example of a book with 3-D characters? Big Little Lies. Even the minor or semi-minor characters are people you feel like you know.

The opposite of this would be stock characters like Joyce Whatshername in the Stephanie Plum series, who stole Stephanie's (now-ex) husband. Seen only thru the lens of Stephanie's enmity, she has only one dimension.

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sammypt11
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Post by sammypt11 » 22 Sep 2014, 19:52

This novel has ME written all over it. Thanks for the post! I will certainly be ordering this one. Yay for psychological thrillers!

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yogitranscend
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Post by yogitranscend » 30 Sep 2014, 13:01

Thank you for a good review of this book and the writing style within. I will have to read it soon, thanks!

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zoedecicco
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Post by zoedecicco » 11 Dec 2014, 14:59

Great review - sounds right up my street. Thank you!
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Post by shawnmichaels800 » 17 Dec 2014, 06:49

This book was published this year. (2013) As of this post no movie has been made. It is a worthwhile read.

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