Sunday, October 7, 2012

Book 76 - My name is Mina by David Almond - England

How does a novel about the life of a troubled girl grip the reader so effectively? David Almond has this ability to make a simple life so enthralling. Don't get me wrong Mina is far from simple. She is home schooled by her mother and she tells the story of her everyday life and how she came to be home schooled. 

At one point Mina recounts how she made a friend at school who limped badly and was a fellow outcast from the rest of the school children. Their conversation evolved as the friend says she is going to have a very painful operation so she won't limp any more. She then asks Mina is she will have an operation to repair her strangeness.

Mina is strange to her peers and to her teachers. She is brilliant, she thinks deeply about things, she is a tortured soul who is trying to come to terms with the grief of her father's sudden death. Her favourite place to be is sitting in the tree at her house. She writes in her journal up there. She watches the neighbourhood from there. She feels safe there.

Mina is a character from David Almond's book Skellig (review from Reading Matters) and this novel is the prequel to Skellig. In the last few chapters of My name is Mina Michael and his family move into the house next door and his baby sister is shown to be very ill. 
Guardian review                                                                                                     David Almond's website
David Almond speaking at Scottish Book Trust event 'Authors Live' about writing about the ordinary.