Saturday, 23 July 2016

Maggot Moon - Sally Gardner

  • Medium

Sally Gardner (The Red Necklace, I Coriander etc) is a wonderful writer for young adults.  This particular book strikes me as one that would make even a "I Hate Books" kind of kid would want to read on to the end!

Set in a alternative dystopian country, possibly England, but never stated;  now ruled (in 1956) by a  country similar to Nazi Germany, with a leader similar to Hitler;  tanks in the streets, men in long leather coats who may knock on your door at any time, fear making people behave in a way that surely we would not tolerate now? ..... In this world lives our hero, Standish Treadwell, who's parents have "disappeared", who shares his broken down home with his Grandfather, he's a boy who can hardly read or write but is a very clever indeed.  His friend Hector lives next door, and on an illegal television set, they watch programmes from another country - a country with Cadillacs to drive - and I Love Lucy comedy shows.  A country called Croca-Cola Land. 

For Standish, Hector, and anyone else who is not important enough to be "disappeared", or watched day and night, life just has to be endured, beauty and joy are out the window (even if you could remember what it used to feel like) and bullies of all kinds are the people that populate your life.  One particular bully is a toupe wearing cane wielding man who replaced their well-liked teacher and, having tasted a bit of power, takes it out on the kids in various cruel ways.  The day he beats up a small boy is the turning point for Standish.

It's easy to read word-wise, not so easy to read of the cruelty wreaked on others, but it just does make you want to keep reading, cheering Standish on and hoping for the best of luck to come along to help all those ordinary people.  250 pages, but shorter than you'd imagine because lots of the chapters are only one paragraph, it never left my hands till I had read the last page.  Recommended to all good readers from age 10 onwards, but of course that includes any kid of any age at all up to 99 years, young adult or not! 

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