Sunday 27 July 2014

Boys Don’t Knit

Boys Don’t Knit by Tom Easton (Hot Key Books)
PB RRP $16.95
ISBN 978-1-4714-0147-3
Reviewed by Jacque Duffy

I am not a target reader for this book, my teen years are behind me. In fact, when I first picked it up and noticed it was written in diary style I groaned inwardly. Not only is it aimed at teens but it would be full of a self-absorbed teenager’s thoughts too. I took a deep breath, and started reading. I soon discovered I couldn't put it down.

I read late into the night, turning pages in a way that would have gratified the author. As I mentioned, I am not this author's target audience but his writing transported me to a very happy place. If my experience is anything to go by, genre preference has little to do with captivating a reader.

Tom Easton has had over a dozen books published. His writing talents range from chapter books to young adult novels. Boy’s Don’t Knit is very clever. Ned, the main character is very likable in a completely flawed way, he is the kind of kid you want to succeed in life, you want to keep listening to his ‘voice’.

"I told Dad where I was going and he seemed really proud, like I was off to receive a Duke of Edinburgh award as opposed to what I was actually doing, which was fulfilling the terms of my probation by providing home assistance to an old lady I'd nearly killed. I suppose it's good to have his support, but if he's proud of me over this it does tend to suggest he has quite low expectations. I clearly don't need to do much to earn his respect. If I'm ever in the dock at Basingstoke Crown Court facing a thirty stretch for a triple murder, I can be sure Dad will be there in the gallery wiping away a tear, beside himself with pride at the fact that I managed to tie my own tie."

The book if read in a senior classroom situation would raise healthy discussion. I found it refreshing, the serious matters of peer pressure, sex, vandalism and theft are raised in this story and handled in a modern yet sensitive way without being condescending or preachy. The characters are fully formed and each supports the main character well.

The story gives room for sequels (I know there is one coming) and I am sure each would be an enjoyable read, in fact, I see a movie.
Jacque Duffy is the author and illustrator of picture book The Bear Said Please and the series ‘That’s not a …' learn to read books used in all Queensland State Primary Schools and one local history coffee table book.

An English Boy in New York, the sequel to Boys Don’t Knit is out August 2014.

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