Skip to main content

Skellig by David Almond

Skellig is an American Library Association Michael L. Printz Award Honor Book; it's a juvenile fiction book, and it's about 200 pages long with short chapters and it's a rather fast read.  A few years ago the library got a book called My Name Is Mina which was David Almond's follow up to Skellig.  I put both books on my reading list because I wanted to read Skellig first.  It turns out that while My Name Is Mina is the follow up to Skellig, Mina is actually a prequel to Skellig.

Michael and his parents and baby sister (who remains nameless until the very last sentence of the book) have moved into a new house that can modestly be described as a fixer upper.  It needs lots of work on the house, on the yard and on the garage--everything's dirty, falling together, overgrown, covered in debris, and been left to ruin and neglect by the previous, elderly owner.  But Michael's parents have big plans for the house, although after his sister is born prematurely and must battle health issues, these plans are briefly waylaid while the family keeps vigil over, worries about the very survival of the fragile newborn.

When Michael discovers a decrepit, old man wearing an ancient, black suit propped up against the back wall inside the garage that threatens to fall down around his ears at any moment, Michael's not sure if the man's real or just a figment of his imagination.  The man's very weak, very odd, very pale and very tall.  What is very clear is that the man's not well, that he's just sitting there waiting to die, that he may not even be a man at all.  But if he's not a man, who or what is he?

Michael is a boy with a lot to deal with--more than any boy his age really should have to cope with all at once.  He's adjusting to a new home and new neighborhood; he's missing his friends; he's worried his new sister might die, and then he finds an old man in the garage and now he's got a whole new set of worries.  Is Michael imagining things?  What is the old man, and will he die too if Michael can't find a way to save him?  Where does he come from?

Mina is the quirky, opinionated neighbor girl who befriends Michael, and it is in the unusual Mina that Michael finds someone he can trust.  So one evening he brings Mina into the garage to meet the old man because Michael knows that Mina will know what to do about it.  What ensues is a story about unconditional friendship, the power of love, and what happens when you show compassion to someone who is obviously in a bad situation.  Told in lyrical prose, this is a magical, mysterious story.

--Reviewed by Ms. Angie

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Broken by Karin Slaughter

Before I begin the formal review there are a few things I need to get off my chest in the wake of finishing this book; I'll do so without giving away too many (or any) spoilers.
The OUTRAGE!: the identity of Detective Lena Adams' new beau; the low depths to which Grant County's interim chief has sunk and brought the police force down with him; agent Will Trent's wife, Angie's, sixth sense/nasty habit of reappearing in his life just when he's slipping away from her. Thank God for small miracles though because while Angie was certainly referred to during the book, the broad didn't make an appearance. One sign that I've become way too invested in these characters is that I'd like to employ John Connolly's odd pair of assassins, Louis and Angel, to contract out a hit on Angie; do you think Karin Slaughter and John Connolly could work out a special cross over?
Hallelujah: Dr. Sara Linton and agent Will Trent are both back. There is no hallelujah for…

Crow Lake by Mary Lawson

When the end came, it seemed to do so completely out of the blue, and it wasn't until long afterward that I was able to see that there was a chain of events leading up to it. Some of those events had nothing to do with us, the Morrisons, but were solely the concern of the Pyes, who lived on a farm about a mile away and were our nearest neighbors." from page seven
I must confess that it took me longer than it really needed to in order to finish the novel Crow Lake by Mary Lawson. The entire story is building up to the big catastrophe that forever destroys all the hopes and dreams the Morrison clan ever dared to hope and dream for its future. In the eyes of the narrator, it is even worse than the tragedy of the car crash that claimed both parents' lives one evening on the heels of some good news the family has received and celebrated. Now you can see why I dreaded getting to the end of a book that drips in foreboding like nobody's business. What can be a worse tra…

In The Woods by Tana French

"What I warn you to remember is that I am a detective. Our relationship with the truth is fundamental, but cracked, refracting confusingly like fragmented glass. It is the core of our careers, the endgame of every move we make, and we pursue it with strategies painstakingly constructed of lies ... and every variation on deception. The truth is the most desirable woman in the world and we are the most jealous lovers, reflexively denying anyone else the slightest glimpse of her. We betray her routinely ... This is my job ... What I am telling you, before you begin my story, is this--two things: I crave truth. And I lie." opening lines of In The Woods chapter 1, pages 3-4
In The Woods by Tana French, an Irish writer, is an extremely well-written and well-crafted mystery novel. The downside is that this is French's debut novel, and her website (located at http://www.tanafrench.com/) does not offer any insi…