Review Blog

May 06 2008

Broken Glass by Sally Grindley

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Bloomsbury, 2008. ISBN 9780747586159
(Age 10-14) Desperately unhappy at the sight of his father hitting his mother, after his father has lost both his job and his own claustrophobic mother, Suresh decides that he and his brother, Sandeep are in the way. He thinks that his parents will do better without two extra mouths to feed and so the two boys run away, hoping to gain employment in the city. Their life in the village where they know everyone and are looked out for, is over.

There follows a sometimes harrowing story of the two young boys' lives in the streets in India, mingling with other street dwellers, avoiding the police, having their few possessions stolen, trying to keep one step ahead of the man to whom they sell the broken glass they collect. At times the story is light, as the boys play cricket with other street kids, or go to the concert the others arrange, or make friends with people who give them food. But the whole is bleak and miserable as the reader comes to see that these two boys are only two of thousands in the city.

An upbeat end to the story did not for me, temper the bleakness of the background, but kids in middle school will empathise with Suresh and his brother as they try to make their way in life. And it's great to see a book set in India.
Fran Knight

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