Geschreven bij Half Bad
Harry and Lyra visit a Brave New World. Black is (not necessarily) bad and white is about as far from good, pure and virtuous as one can get. Green's hero isn't merely a misfit--he's a juvenile delinquent, a thief and prone to violence. And oh yes, he is very, very appealing, with a story that is deeply moving for all its superficial familiarity.
Young Nathan Byrne suffers from more than just adolescent raging hormones. The kid is practically feral, and becomes more so with each passing year. A functional illiterate (yes, you read that right) who would rather be beaten and tortured than attempt to learn his ABCs, this is an anti-hero who will make some squirm but many more care deeply about his journey through adolescence. A journey made possible, in part by muggings and petty thievery. Imagine Ron and Hermione rolling a banker to finance their search for the deathly hallows.
The one reservation I have about the book is a host of very adult themes in a young adult book. Child abuse, child torture, murder, a mother's suicide, race hate/violence and sociopathy are all featured and prominently. I am familiar with all the arguments that video games are even more violent. The trouble with that is there is no video game I am aware of that depicts parental suicide. Or causes a 12 year old to imagine his mother taking her life. Or families killing other family members. Also, the author's abilities I have extolled above would, I imagine, make the realities of abuse and parental suicide all the more possible and imaginable. Is that where every 11, 12, and 13 year old should be going in their personal reading? I don't pretend to have the answers but think it important to pose the question in a public forum like this.
These horrors do happen in the real world and I don't think children should be sheltered from it. Nor should they engage it before they are mature enough to do so. This is one book where thoughtful discussion, parental awareness and guidance are all extremely important when judging the book's suitability. I worry all that will get lost in the bestseller hype and hoopla should it take off as its publisher hopes .
It isn't however, the job of writers to self censor. It is their job to create. In that, Sally Green has done marvelously well making the familiar seem fresh. giving new energy to tired archetypes. The result is original, gripping and I thought more than a bit surprising, and more than a bit disturbing. Half-Bad was an excellent book; it had good plot, lots of character development, and fun parts. I loved the main character and the other characters.