Review Blog

Jan 10 2018

Mr Romanov's garden in the sky by Robert Newton

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Penguin Books, 2017. ISBN 9780143309307
(Age: 12+) Recommended. I recall being most taken with Robert Newton's earlier story entitled, When We Were Two. The story of an unlikely friendship between two brothers, in search of a lost mother, and a band of men off to join up for the Great War, was moving and beautifully told.
Mr Romanov's Garden in the Sky was inspired by an incident witnessed by the author when he attended an emergency as a firefighter. A young girl was left crying on a landing after her mother overdoses. He wondered for a long time after what had happened to both of them.
One day, young Lexie, living with her often absent mother in a council flat, witnesses a dog being thrown off the apartment tower. The Jack Russell belongs to the elderly Creeper, another tenant who has a reputation for madness and for venturing out at night. Davey Goodman also lives in the same block: an engaging and amusing character. In time he and Lexie befriend the Creeper, and the three form another unlikely friendship.
Lexie has dreamed of going to Surfers Paradise ever since she and her late father talked about travelling somewhere exotic. Predictably, the three set off on an adventure, but it forms a wonderful tale, bringing life changes for each of them.
I really enjoyed this book. It is funny, poignant, and full of memorable moments, and written with a great understanding of childhood, aging and contemporary Australia.
Teachers' notes are available for this novel from the publisher's website.
Julie Wells

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