I first saw this book in the farmhouse where we stayed for our Scafell Pike trip last year. I thought it looked good but there was no time to read it, so when I saw it at a friend’s house I borrowed it.
The story follows David, a young boy in World War Two who is a big reader. After his mother’s death, he descends further into his beloved books as a coping mechanism – she loved reading too, so when he reads he is both distracted from his loss and feels closer to her and removed from his disliked stepmother and half-brother. The books begin talking to him and he sees a mysterious presence called ‘The Crooked Man’ who is plainly not of this world.
Eventually David finds himself in a strange land where stories come to life, but with a twist. For example, he meets Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, but Snow White is a monstrous bully and the dwarves are socialists.
This is a very inventive book and to say much more would spoil it. As the story progresses you learn more of Connolly’s imagination and how the world he has created works.
David is an appealing hero, especially towards the end of the book, and the mysterious ‘Crooked Man’ is an effective hero.
This book is quite dark in places and is not for children, but for adults who want something a bit out of the ordinary, I recommend it.