Saturday, March 26, 2011
Review -- The Dead Fathers Club by Matt Haig
This is one of the few novels I've read with a unique voice and an unconventional, stream-of-consciousness writing style that was also easy to read and understand. The author captured the voice of a young boy perfectly and made it a compelling read. Sometimes funny, sometimes heartbreaking, I stayed up too late on several nights just to read one more chapter. I loved it.
From Amazon: "When eleven-year-old Philip Noble is confronted by the ghost of his recently deceased father and asked to avenge his death, the boy finds himself in a thorny dilemma. Revenge, after all, is a tricky business-especially when Philip is already distracted by his girlfriend, school bullies, self-doubt, and all the other challenges of adolescence. Viewing the adult world through the eyes of a young boy, The Dead Fathers Club is a brilliant, quirky take on a classic tale."
Everything about Philip is honest and believable. Philip is a little odd and quirky, but in a way that makes him relatable; from what he observes to what he thinks and how he reacts to the very stressful situations in which he finds himself, the reader understands him, at least in part. The reader feels for him, and worries about his sanity, as he comes to terms with his frustrations with adults, with classmates, and with the uncertainties, uncontrollability, and unfairness of life.
The ending left something to be desired, but it worked. Where some books end on a note of indecision that seems to be a fault of the author, this one has a pretty clear point, and it did not detract from the novel at all in my opinion. Unfortunately I've never read Hamlet, so I can't attest to this story being a retelling as others have, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. Other reviewers have also compared this book to The Curious Case of the Dog in the Nighttime, which I've added to my list of books to be read.
Recommended for probably high school and up, due mainly to some swearing and one sex scene (none of which the 11-year-old main character participated in, fyi).