Review Blog

Nov 25 2011

Kill all enemies by Melvin Burgess

cover image

Penguin, 2011. ISBN 978 0 141 33564 3.
Kill all enemies is the story of three teenagers, Billie, Rob and Chris all of whom have a number of problems. Billie is considered violent, Rob is thought to be a bully and Chris is lazy and not interested in school. However as the story progresses you learn more about each of them and what has caused them to appear this way.  Each chapter is headed by one of the characters and helps in the development of how we see them. All is not what it seems with any of them, clues are given along the way and this helps build up a larger picture of the three main characters. There is plenty of violence and strong language but it is hard not to become involved in the story. Each of the characters is flawed but have their redeeming features as well. Rob is fiercely protective of his younger brother and mother, Billie is trying to be calmer and to allow people to help her while Chris has dyslexia and goes to great lengths to disguise the problems that this causes him.
They all meet in the course of the story and their interaction is one of the key elements of the story along with dysfunctional families and all the normal problems of adolescence and growing up.
I liked the book, it had a ring of authenticity and their problems were not glossed over, but the story came to a satisfying conclusion. Supposedly based on real life experiences I would think older teenagers would be able to identify with the characters and their problems and perhaps learn from them.
David Rayner

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