Review Blog

Nov 23 2011

The dead I know by Scot Gardner

cover image

Allen and Unwin, 2011. ISBN 9781742373843.
This book is unusual in that it deals with death, not usually a topic dealt with in society. More specifically, it touches upon the funeral industry and the disposal of the dead. It does this sensitively and respectfully and this is one of the strengths of the book.
Aaron Rowe has dreams and sleepwalks. He often wakes up in unexpected places and doesn't know how he got there. He lives with his Mam in a caravan and is bullied by another resident of the caravan park. Aaron's life begins to change when he starts a job as an assistant to a funeral director. Through the care and understanding of John Barton, Aaron begins to take hold of his life and to confront his dreams and sleepwalking. At the same time, he has to deal with his Mam's descent in dementia.
This book can be read and enjoyed on many levels.  Aaron is a likeable character who has a lot to deal with. Ultimately the dreams and sleepwalking are resolved and Aaron is able to deal with the problems in his life realistically and satisfactorily. His Mam's dementia is explained as all the parts of the puzzles in the book fit together. I particularly like this book and would recommend it to secondary students.
David Rayner

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