Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Noah Barleywater Runs Away- John Boyne

Noah Barleywater Runs Away is about eight-year-old Noah Barleywater and the adventures he has the day he decides to run away from home. Noah has decided it is better to leave home and not to think about the things there that make him sad. Instead he faces the path before him. After all eight is old enough to leave home, all the books he has read show how easy it is. But Noah is surprised by how different it is to run away in real life and, having skipped breakfast, he is very hungry by lunchtime. The villages he passes through are strange. When he takes some apples off a tree they vanish and no one seems friendly. In the third village things are different. He is fascinated by a strange tree and the odd shop behind it. When Noah goes into the shop he meets an old man there and his fortune changes. 

              This book is an interesting blend of fairy tale and the present day. The stories Noah tells the old man are firmly set in the unmysterious modern world. But the old man’s stories take place in a strange, slightly magical world in the past and are strangely familiar... I personally found Noah’s stories more interesting but enjoyed those of the old man almost as much. It is a touching story about love, death and growing old. It is also about not being afraid to make the choices that will make you happy in life. The time that Noah and the old man spend together leads them both to share things that they are scared or ashamed of. Both their futures are put on a different path by their meeting.

              I enjoyed the book, especially after the familiar story lines began to emerge. It is a clever combination of a sequel to a classic children’s story and a modern story about a child trying to deal with a problem that is out of his control. The novel is due out on the 30th September and is a great read for anyone in the 8+ age group.

I would like to thank David Fickling Books for providing me with a copy for review.

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