Saturday, July 29, 2006

The Book of Everything by Guus Kuijer

This is a very strange and disturbing book. I liked it, but I can't really say I enjoyed reading it. It is set in the Netherlands in 1951, when the country is trying to recover from the Nazi occupation during World War II. Thomas lives in a household that is dominated by his father's physical abuse of his mother and bullying of Thomas and his sister. Thomas records his thoughts in "The Book of Everything." During his father's tirades, Thomas recites to himself the bad things he wishes would happen to his father as punishment. There is magic in the book, and only Thomas can see it. He is befriended by a neighbor who is thought to be a witch by the neighborhood children, and she tells Thomas that it's true. She certainly works magic with Thomas, introducing him to the uplifting power of music and books, and helping him to stop being afraid. I have to also mention that Thomas sees Jesus and speaks with him, holding very strange conversations. Religion plays a large part in the book, as it is the reason Thomas's father gives for beating his wife and children. The plagues of Egypt occur but only Thomas can see them. The book has a happy ending (to an extent), although Thomas's father isn't able to change. Review by Stacy Church

No comments: