Review Blog

Jun 20 2013

The view from the 32nd floor by Emma Cameron

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Walker Books Australia, 2013. ISBN 9781922077295.
(Ages 8-12) Recommended. The View from the 32nd floor is an uplifting and gentle story where care and concern for others and themes of loneliness and friendship in an inner city setting and across the generational gap abound.
William lives on the 32nd floor of his apartment block with his musician parents and enjoys watching the residents of the apartments directly across the street with his plastic binoculars as he sits on his balcony. When Rebecca and her mother take up residence in the apartment directly opposite, William is quick to befriend her and together they begin a campaign to change the lives of the residents William sees from his balcony.
There is old Mr Crispin who worries William as he seems to have lost interest in life and is definitely not eating properly, and Fabian the palm grower who now lives alone and irons his holey jeans and who lives behind the sheer grey curtains which never open.
With the help of cake, visits by the children and some banana-shaped Post-it notes to remind him to put in his hearing aids, Mr Crispin begins to reconnect with the world but it is when the children are forced to enlist Fabian's help to break into his apartment to save his life that the real connections begin.
Tai chi in the park, lots of delicious food and a party to celebrate the unveiling of a mysterious statue on the roof encourage all the residents, even the reluctant Mrs Stavros who comes out from behind the curtains to meet and talk to their neighbours.
I enjoyed William's penchant for changing his name daily and that the meaning of the name reflected his actions and behaviour. The lyrics of the song selected each day by his father became the theme for the day as well, though I would think most of the references would not be in the target audience's playlist.
If one young person is inspired to interact with an elderly neighbour as result of reading this book the world can only be a better place.
Sue Keane

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