Friday, 13 January 2012

Broken by Daniel Clay **Review**

Broken by Daniel Clay
Series: No
Pages: 312
Publisher: HarperPress
Release date: 3rd March 2008
Buy (new edition): Book Depository | Amazon UK | Waterstone's | Amazon US

Goodreads synopsis:
Until that fateful afternoon, Skunk Cunningham had been a normal little girl, playing on the curb in front of her house. Rick Buck­ley had been a normal geeky teen­ager, hosing off his brand-new car. Bob Oswald had been a normal sociopathic single father of five sl**** daughters, charging furiously down the side­walk. Then Bob was beating Rick to a bloody pulp, right there in the Buckleys' driveway, and life on Drummond Square was never the same again.
Inspired by Harper Lee's classic To Kill a Mockingbird, Clay's brilliantly observed and darkly funny novel follows the sudden unraveling of a sub­urban community after a single act of thoughtless cruelty.

This review is going to be a difficult one to write, I think. It may be a good idea for readers of this review to keep reminding themselves of the four star rating that I have given the book. This may get confusing.

I do want everyone reading this to remember that I did like this book. It was compelling, poignant, and gripping throughout. It had deeply affected me by the time I was finished, and it is something that will stay in my mind for a very long time. It's not something that I would usually have chosen to read myself, but I'm still glad that I've read it.
It was however, a fairly distressing read.

The story is narrated mostly by Skunk, an eleven year old girl who begins and ends the story. The novel begins with her reflecting on what had happened to her, and how her and her neighbours had arrived at the states they are all in now. This is pretty much the entire premise for the novel.
Knowing what had happened to Skunk from the very beginning was the cause for the novel's initial grip on me - I had to know what had happened to her. By the time I'd met the Oswalds and Rick 'Broken' Buckley, I was completely gripped and had to know what happened.
What made the novel even more compelling was the way in which the reader gets to know each of the characters intimately. Even though the novel is essentially narrated by a 'future Skunk', and not by any other character, Skunk's narration almost becomes omniscient. Sporadically throughout the novel, we are shown the thoughts of the other characters - so not only are we shown what they are doing, but the thought processes behind each action or decision.

The whole idea behind the novel is a disturbing but intriguing one. I liked the idea that one thoughtless, animalistic action could cause so much destruction. It was interesting to see just how the effects of this incident spread and grew out of control as the novel developed, and how these effects eventually became a tragedy by the end of the story. Also, that all of this happened in a seemingly normal British town, on an apparently normal British street, makes the novel even more disturbing, as it brings it a lot closer to home!

I have heard many others say that they would not be able to say that they enjoyed the novel as such, but that it was a really great read, and one that they are extremely glad to have read. I think this sums the novel up perfectly for me. It's not something I would have chosen for myself, but having had it recommended to me, I am grateful to have come across it and experienced it.
I would recommend reading this, but this is by no means a light read.


Chocolate Chunky Munkie said...

Excellent review Dani :D

Jen xx

Diana said...

I haven't heard for this before. It seems very interesting and Skunk must be great character. I'm very curious about it!

Romi said...

This sounds really interesting, very touching and incredibly sad.

Linda Henderson said...

Boy, I don't know about this one. I don't think it's my cup of tea. Thank's for the review though.

Pen to Paper said...

Linda, I didn't think it would be mine either, but I actually really liked it!
It's a very affecting read. If you do ever get the chance to get hold of a copy, I recommend that you give it a go. Maybe see if the library has one?

Dani :)

Tressa said...

I really like To Kill a Mockingbird, so I may give this one a go. I would just have to be prepared for it since the books I read affect my emotions sometimes. I would definitely have a humurous and light chick-lit to ready to read right after. ;)

Yuko86 said...

I have this book on my TBR pile and your review made me wanting to read it immediately!

Stephanie Verhaegen said...

Nice review! Sounds good. :)

Rea said...

I've never heard of this book before but it sounds really good! I've never read To Kill a Mocking Bird (because we read French classics in school and any English-language classics we were required to look at were all British) but I like the sound of this one! :)

Carolyn Colley said...

thanks for the review, sounds like a good read, name of the book caught my eye, because sometimes I just feel broken inside & out

Jaime Lester said...

So, while the review was confusing, it also says a lot about how it mush it made you think. I don't often read books that are "hard" reads, but I think this one would be a good one to read. The blurb made me want to know what happened. How things ended. What caused the crazy dad to hurt that child. Thanks for the review, and I am going to look for the book.

Gaby said...

What an intriguing premise. I'm not sure if I'd like knowing that she's in a coma throughout the book, but I might have to check it out anyway.

Tracy K Nixon said...

Lovely review - I think I will order this book. I have read To Kill A Mockingbird and enjoyed that one so I think I will enjoy this one too! Thank you!

Post a Comment

Thank you for taking the time to comment on my blog - it is always appreciated!

Blog design installed by Sweet Dreams Design