Review Blog

Feb 01 2012

Life : an exploded diagram by Mal Peet

cover image

Walker Books, 2011. ISBN 978 1 8442 8100 8.
Recommended for senior secondary students and adults. This book begins and ends with a bang.  A Spitfire shooting a chimney pot to pieces in 1945 and the World Trade Centre exploding in 2001.
In between is a thoroughly enjoyable story, largely about Clem, a working class boy and Frankie, daughter of a wealthy local landowner.  Interspersed with this are the evolving stories of their families especially Clem's. As well there is as a background the developing missile crisis in Cuba in 1962.
The relationship that develops between Clem and Frankie is both touching and hilarious at least to the reader. The author handles the various components of the book with great skill and melds them together into a whole that is entertaining, humorous and affirming all at the same time. The characters are extremely well drawn and the observations of life in Britain in the period acutely well done.
I loved this book; it's beautifully written and the author skillfully weaves everything together to produce an outstanding reading.
David Rayner

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