Monday, 30 July 2012

OUT OF SHADOWS – Jason Wallace, 2010

This is the winner of the 2010 Costa Children’s Book Award. It is, however, more ‘gritty’ than a lot of adult books.
The school days of Robert Jacklin are fraught with danger. It is Zimbabwe in the 1980s and Mugabe is firmly in control of the country. The start of a Brave New World some believe; they soon have their illusions shattered. At first, Jacklin has other problems to worry about:  troubles close to home such as his mother’s increasing dependence on alcohol and the inherent violence of public school. But soon everyone has an axe to grind and the school is divided. Is it possible for Jacklin to be friends with a black boy? And what happens when that boy suddenly disappears?
The History teacher, looking initially like a Miss Brodie or a Mr Keating, is introduced. He soon becomes extremely dangerous and begins to stir feelings of revenge within the boys. When he loses his job, it is up to schoolboy, Ivan to continue his work.
Jacklin is the best shot in the school. When Mugabe comes to visit he has to decide once and for all where his loyalties lie.

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