Thursday, 4 June 2009

Nicholas Dane by Melvin Burgess

Melvin set out to write a campaigning novel in the style of Dickens, and using Dickens' literary architecture - based on Oliver Twist. Most of the stories used in this novel are based on the true stories of people who were in the care system in the corrupt 1980s. This is a compelling novel, full of violence, unbelievable abuse and a deep sense of dread at what will happen next. But it is also a story that needs telling and that needs exposing to a wider audience. I have some qualms that it will seem alien to today's youth, but perhaps that is my construct, and young people read as they find and skip what they don't - so it may create opportunities for talk and discussion, and may stop such abuse ever happening again; and should certainly stop the unforgivable acceptance or rather denial that these things happened in the first place.

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