Title: Goodnight, Boy
I read and reviewed Nikki Sheehan's Swan Boy back in 2016 - and that was a work of art.
This book is about a Haitian boy who moves to America, so if there are any #ownvoices reviews from Haitians, black reviewers, or reviewers with experience of emigrating to the USA, please let me know.
I'd love to link to your reviews!
And Sheehan makes difficult subjects understandable without ever writing down to her audience.
Emotional manipulation is where Nikki excels, and she really doesn't hold back here. She gives her readers the feels. Constantly.
- people trafficking
- serious illness/injury
- loss of a child (grief)
- child abuse
- animal abuse
- child neglect
- animal neglect
- adoption from a foreign country
- illegal immigration
- car accidents
- alcohol abuse
This is for kids aged 11-12+ - I can't see the content being suitable for anyone younger, and some kids of that age may not be ready to read it.
A strong case could be made that Nikki wasn't the 'right' person to tell this story - a white British woman writing the story of a black Haitian boy will be an uneasy match for many.
I know that a lot of people have issues with stories such as this one being written from outside the identities they portray, which is a valid point to bear in mind.
I personally think she pulled it off - but I may be wrong. I honestly don't know enough about Haiti to judge how well she does or not.
If anyone has written about this in more detail, please let me know!
The pacing with this one is a bit off in places. (Sorry Nikki, but it's true.) There are parts you zip through, and parts which drag unnecessarily.
The ending feels like it takes forever to come, and then is over in a heartbeat.
I think either it needed a shorter lead-up, or a longer resolution; whichever is the case, it's slightly jarring.
I also feel like we needed to see more of JC's new mother, Melanie.
In some ways she was the most complex character of all, but in others she really needed more page-time in order to be 'fleshed out' fully.
She ends up coming across as a little inconsistent - eager to have JC there, but barely spending any time with him. It didn't ring quite true - though it's a minor point, overall.
While I loved the bond JC has with Boy, I think Boy, too, could've done with just a touch more detail and personality.
Did I love it as much as Swan Boy? No - but then, I wasn't expecting to.
What I did find was a beautiful story, told with utmost skill and awesomeness. It's excellent.
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