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Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Nobody Knows


Right before I took off for vacation Jason handed a bagful of ARCs and advance copies and said "you think you're so smart, so read these and get back to me." And I did read them. Well, some of them. And here is the first of several dispatches from the office about my summer reads.

Nobody Knows by Shelley Tanaka is an adaptation of the Hirokazu Kore-Eda film of the same name. I'm no film buff so I hadn't heard of this well-regarded movie which worked out well for me because I couldn't get into the old compare book and movie game. What I can say is that this is a fantastic downbeat sweet sad Young Adult novel. A family of four kids holes up in an apartment with their restless mom. She disappears for days at a time. Then weeks. And all the while she tells the kids to stay hidden lest they get kicked out by the building manager. From their balcony they watch other kids play and go to school and do the things "regular" kids do. They live their lives in that tiny apartment. Until when it seems like mom won't ever come back they sneak outside to play and explore.

The chapters are short and beautiful and while that setup seems bleak the tale fairly skips along with plenty of fun amidst the continual neglect from all adults. Let's call this a beautiful bummer.

Maybe I'll watch the film soon but I liked the book so much that I'm happy to enjoy its spell a bit longer.

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