Thursday 18 October 2012

Nobody’s Boy

Nobody’s Boy by Dianne Bates (Celapene Press)
PB RRP $12.95
ISBN: 978-0-9872556-0-0
Reviewed by Jenny Mounfield

Ron is nobody’s boy—and everyone’s. He has spent his young life moving between his troubled mother. foster parents Pearl and Brian, and assorted relatives. When Ron’s mother is sent to prison, he must stay with a new couple, Rosie and Bob. All he wants is to live with his father, but Dad now has Anna and the situation is complicated.

‘I hid behind the curtains
when I saw her in our street
in a mini-skirt with
bare feet
a bottle of beer’           Excerpt from MOTHER  p10

Written in verse narrated by Ron, this is an original and competing account of a confused boy trying to make the best of his constantly changing situation. Ron is hopeful and resilient—to a point. He has friends, values relationships, and dreams of the most basic need: a life with his dad.

                            ‘MOST DAYS
                             I act remote
as the island I can see
from my bedroom window
I hurl words like grenades
all around me
brutal and deadly

Bob says he can’t understand me
Rosie shakes her head
son you’re not trying
I answer I’m not your son
I’m no longer part
of their happy-ever-after story life
no longer
trying to impress
no longer
hiding behind the mask
I’ve worn for years
no longer
checking my words
one by one
minding my damn manners

I’m the me that spells
who wants to be
who aims to be
who demands to be
for once and forever
my father’s son’           P81 (After Ron is rejected by his father)

Rather than being a tragedy in many parts, which this book could have easily been, this is a story of hope and love that ends on a distinctly positive note. The stream-of-consciousness narrative flow, devoid of punctuation, feels authentic and immediate. It is pure emotion with all the usual literary filler taken out.

Bates, an author of more than 90 books for kids and a foster-mother to boot, has a rare understanding of children in Ron’s situation. Nobody’s Boy pulls no punches. It will bring a lump to readers’ throats, but so, too, it will lighten the heaviest heart. I hope this story finds its way into classrooms. Dealing with issues all too common in today’s society, this is a book that begs to be discussed.

Jenny Mounfield is the author of three novels and a number of short stories for young people. She has been a regular reviewer for seven years, both online and in print publications. Her first novel for adults, The Unforgetting, has recently been added to the Kindle Store.


  1. Read it loved it. So great to see another work from a fantabulous children's author!

  2. Dianne Bates keeps getter better and better. And I love the cover.

    Thanks for dropping by Buzz Words, Wai.


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