Review Blog

Apr 20 2017

Came back to show you I could fly by Robin Klein

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Introduced by Simmone Howell. Text Classics. Text Publishing, 2017. ISBN 9781925498318. First published Penguin Viking 1989
(Age: Middle school students) Recommended. Drug addiction. Friendship. Family breakdown. Eleven year old Seymour is spending his summer holidays with his mother's friend, hidden from his father while his parents get a divorce. Thelma says he must stay safely in the house during the day while she is at work and not make a mess. Seymour tries to comply but heat and boredom get the better of him and he climbs into the alley behind the house. Chased by bullies he panics and mistakenly runs into a neighbouring backyard where he encounters 20 year old beautiful, vivacious Angie who is nice to him and lets him choose earrings to go with her flamboyant clothes. The two strike up a friendship, much to Seymour's amazement that someone like Angie would want to spend time with someone as timid as him. She takes him on outings and she shares her fantasy world with him where everything is lovely, they live in a big house and everyone is happy. As they spend more time together reality starts to seep through Angie's facade. As Seymour becomes more confident Angie's world starts to collapse and their roles reverse.
When it was first published in 1989 Came back to show you I could fly trod a daring line between depicting the destructive nature of drug addiction, the breakdown of trust and the fracturing of relationships while avoiding any actual drug-taking scenes which parents and educators would have found unacceptable. It has been studied in the English curriculum of Australian schools for many years and its coming of age story of finding yourself, helping others and the power of friendship is timeless. Recommended for middle school students.
Sue Speck

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