Monday, 18 April 2011
Review: Grace - Morris Gleitzman
In the beginning there was me and Mum and Dad and the twins.
And good luck was upon us and things were great and talk about happy families, we were bountiful.
But it came to pass that I started doing sins. And lo, that's when all our problems began . . .
Visit Morris Gleitzman's website for more information
Grace has been brought up as part of an extreme religious group and has to abide by the very strict rules set by the church elders. She must keep her hair long and pinned up neatly in a bun, she must never under any circumstances talk to anyone who isn't a part of her community - the outside world is full of sinners who are destined to go to hell - and she must never, ever question the elders. Her parents, especially her father, have always encouraged her ask questions but this causes problems with the elders and leads to her father being expelled from the church. Grace may have been told that she should act as if her father is dead but she is determined to find a way to bring him back home so they can be a family again.
Although this book is aimed at a younger audience than most of the books I read I'm so glad I gave it a chance and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Grace is one of the best young female protagonists I've come across in a long time and it is a joy to read the story from her perspective. She has a child's natural curiosity and questions everything around her which is something that often gets her in trouble but she is brave enough to stand up for what she believes in even when she has good reason to be fearful of the outcome. Her speech is peppered with religious references - hardly surprising when the only book she is allowed to read is the bible - and often caused me to laugh out loud as I was reading.
With less than 200 pages Grace is a quick and easy read and one that is easy to devour in one sitting. Although it covers serious topics it doesn't come across as preachy and includes plenty of humor alongside the horror of discovering more about the church group. It gives a real insight into what it can be like growing up as part of an extremist group and just how difficult it can be. This is a book I'd highly recommend for all ages and I'm looking forward to picking up some of Morris Gleitzman's other stories, if they're anywhere near as good as this one I'm sure I'll be in for a treat.
Source: Received from Penguin in exchange for an honest review
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