Friday, 12 November 2010

Paper Wings by Linda Sargent

Long Lazy Summer
Review by TheMole

I have to admit to always being sceptical about reading a self published book but on reading reviews of Paper Wings I decided that this one was worth a gamble.

There was a debate as to whether it is a children's book. I definitely come down on the side of an adults book and in fact the book describes itself as "...a grown-up story about childhood,.....". The book is set in 1959 when Ruby, a 9 year old girl and avid tree climber, has an accident when trying to fly having climbed a tree. It's at this point that we meet Gabriel properly when he comes out of hiding to help the injured child. Gabriel has been living alone in the woods since before the end of the war and we have to be concerned about his mental stability. Ruby, Peter and Oby befriend Gabriel and he builds a dependence on their friendship while they maintain the secret of his existence in the wood.

The story starts slowly, but this is only right as it is set at the end of a hot, lazy summer as we near hop picking time. We encounter facets of life of the country in 1959 that show a true understanding of what life was like and how society moved. We also meet the prejudices that hung over from the second world war of the people who went to fight and those that stayed behind in reserved occupations. We see people whose personality has been changed by the war and people whose attitudes have changed during the war and all these emotions and prejudices carry a high degree of credibility while shaping the story.

The story picks up the pace towards the end and ends in a blur of action as seen by Ruby who, as almost a bystander, can only watch the outcome.

This is a well written story that is let down unfortunately by being self published - in my opinion. I feel it lacked sufficient quality proof reading which left portions difficult to read and, as a slow reader, spoiled my overall enjoyment but had it been professionally published I believe most of these errors would have been identified and removed.

BUT, having said that, I did enjoy the book and had it had larger print and better proof reading I would have enjoyed it all the more.  I do wonder though if this book has appeal to younger generations that was not alive in the first few decades after the second world war?

TheMole's review - 3.75 stars
Publisher - self published

Genre - Adult Fiction

Buy Paper Wings from Amazon

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