( Log Out / Well here we are again, with Sally Gardner’s Maggot Moon, a book which is possibly even more perfect. Another year, another amazing book for teenagers wins the Costa Book Award. The chapters are wonderfully short and compact thus likely to appeal to those with short attention spans. All Hello, Sign in. He is one that I love dearly. Standish narrates his story in 100 short, fast-paced chapters; his voice is original, quirky and vivid. Speakin on Radio 4’s Front Row programme the other week she explained that she didn’t consciously realise she was writing about a boy with dyslexia, he simply came out. But Maggot Moon is far from being the heart-warming story of a boy who finds friendship and overcomes his difficulties. Although many of the elements of this world come from Nazi Germany and Stalin’s Russia, it’s Sally Gardner’s great achievement that, like Orwell’s 1984, this feels like a believably British totalitarian state. The use of the first person – another Young Adult fiction trope – is deployed here with devastating effect. There is no doubt we fought bravely, but if Goring had decided on the 29th December 1940 to send the last of his fighter pilots over, London I believe would have become an inferno, such as Dresden was to do at the end of the war. Maggot Moon isn’t just a character study, it’s also a cracking thriller using a ‘what if’ scenario of a Britain gone awry in the mid-50s. Suggest a Title.
As his best friend Hector puts it. Maggot Moon's 15-year-old dyslexic hero is written off by teachers and bullied by classmates. I didn’t want to name the country or the state or the how it came about. Standish lives with his grandfather in Zone 7, in a dystopian 1950s England where violence, torture, hunger and enforced slavery are the norm.
In an obvious sense it is a terrifying depiction of life in a Totalitarian state. ", When Hector and his family move in next door, the two boys escape their brutal, grey world by dreaming of the planet Juniper, and imagining the ice-cream-coloured Cadillacs they will have in the land of Croca Cola (where the sun shines in Technicolor).
In a story that constantly highlights the gap between appearance and reality, the power of illusion and the importance of dreams, there's more than a hint of fairytale and theatre about it. The motherland could be anywhere where dictatorships rule by brutality alone. Teenage readers deserve big themes, big ideas and big emotions. Bad spelling is, after all, only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to being dyslexic. He has a penchant for colourful metaphors: words are "sweets in the mouth of sound"; a woman's eyes are "fishes swimming in a puddle of tears"; his heart is "an egg bumping against the side of a pan of boiling water". Still, Maggot Moon won't be right for every kid, even those who fall into the suggested range of age 12 and up. “Then there is Standish with an imagination that breezes through the park, doesn’t even see the benches, just notices there is no dog shit where dog shit should be.”. We must try to be vigilant. In amongst the totalitarian paraphernalia there are allusions to witches and princesses, as well as to stage scenery.
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