Review Blog

Nov 13 2020

Catch me if I fall by Barry Jonsberg

cover image

Allen & Unwin, 2020. ISBN: 9781760877613.
(Age: 11+) Highly recommended. The reader is firstly introduced to the world of Ash and Aiden. Identical twins, they have promised their mother that they will look out for each other, no matter what. Thiers is a world of privilege and the author perceptively describes of lives of children with expectations of entitlement who live in an exclusive estate and attend a wealthy private school.
Through the dialogue in the story we learn this book is set in the future. Sydney is adjusting to the ravages of climate change and life is not as we currently know it in Australia. Food insecurity and social inequities are explored through the lens of privilege. The characters are richly drawn and the reader is led to believe Ash is be both selfish and spoiled. Aiden is portrayed as wise and compassionate as he acts as a buffer between Ash and the world.
On a school camp, described as a five star, politically correct and work health safety controlled experience, Aiden and Ash are involved in an unexpected accident that forever changes their lives. From here on the reader is challenged by ethical dilemmas. The reader is left to reflect on what it means to be human and where life begins. The ethical issues raised in this book are complex. The author has crafted a deceptively simple book that will lift the heart and expand the mind.
The teacher notes, available here, provide guidelines and links to resources that expertly guide and support the opportunities for learning this book evokes.
Themes: Relationships (family, friends), Artificial Intelligence, Ethics (climate change, sustainability).
Linda Guthrie

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