Review Blog

Oct 24 2010

Blueeyedboy by Joanne Harris

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Doubleday, 2010. ISBN 9780385609517. 410p.
(Age: 15+) Recommended for Year 11+. Told in the form of online blogs to a webjournal, sometimes in first person, sometimes third, the novel is about the only surviving brother of three and his widowed mother, Gloria, who is possessive, cruel and ambitious. Because she colour codes the children's clothing for her convenience they become known as Black, Brown and Blue in the Webjournal. When two of the boys show signs of synaethesia Gloria takes them to a wealthy academic who sponsors them until a more interesting case, that of a blind girl who claims to sense colours, is discovered, and the boys are rejected, one of them seeking revenge. The webjournal charts the 'progress' of one of the brothers through childhood and adolescence to an adult obsessed with murder and revenge. The plotting is complicated and intriguing; the reader is not sure which brother is the author of the journal, or who the girl writing responses is, or whether what is written is fact or fiction. The sense of threat increases as unexpected developments happen, the bloggers being revealed for who they are. The narrative techniques are interesting but the language is not overly demanding. Ultimately about the helplessness of children, even adult children, faced with a manipulative and determined parent, the theme is universal.
Jenny Hamilton

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