Week 3 and wouldn’t you know it: I’m ahead of schedule again. Aww, yeah! This book’s down and I’m already on page 104 of A Game of Thrones, which I so far like very, very well. But this blog’s not for me gushing about that brilliantly entertaining book, it’s about 7.a, so let’s get to it!
By: Bjarne Reuter
Published by Gyldendal, 1992, Denmark
7.a and their two teachers go to on a trip staying in an old house by the sea. Slowly they realise that there’s a fateful connection between them and a ship that once went missing.
Rating on Goodreads: (It’s okay)
This was very much a mixed blessing for me, I will say. I started out thinking: Right, this is actually good, but as the book progressed I got more and more annoyed with the characters and in the end I didn’t feel like there was any climax – I feel cheated. This should have been good.
At first, I liked it well enough – the writing was somewhat more mature than I expected and that’s always a thumbs up in litterature meant for younger audiences. It assumes that young people have a vocabulary and as far as I’m concerned that’s both true and important to keep in mind. The good didn’t last all the way through, unfortunately.
I didn’t care much for the writing. Reuter favours a lot of short sentences, a lot of leaving out and a lot of… breaks in sentences where it… didn’t seem natural to… me. The dialogue seemed a bit stiff to me as well – I can’t imagine anyone speaking the way they do in this book and especially not children in the seventh grade. All the way through they seemed like tiny adults or high school students to me.
Character wise it’s not boring but not amazing either – I liked them well enough (some of them) and even if the characters by themselves weren’t very convincing, the group dynamics of the children in the class was very believable. You wonder why he made some of the choices that he did, though: Why is a male teacher that’s kind of like a big child and too full of himself necessary? He became my pet peeve throughout the story. This is just my opinion, but he seemed to me to be outrageously annoying at times.
The plot had a lot of potential and yet I still felt let down. There was a certain chill factor to the beginning but it just started to ebb out and with the ending I really wondered why one reviewer on the back of the book calls it a psychological thriller.
I really liked how he used more subtle hints to suggest a link between the teachers plus the children and the story of the ship – it’s beautifully suggested and then he has to go mess it up by stating openly that this connection exists – with all the subtlety of a hammer to the face. This is not necessary! I figured it out early on and so can a younger reader. Let them draw their own conclusions – it’ll only benefit them in the end. Once again: Young people aren’t stupid. Most, at least.
In the end, I don’t love this but I don’t hate it either. I’m obviously not in the target demographic and he does some things well. I still respect Bjarne Reuter as a writer – he’s unavoidable when speaking of Danish litterature and I grew up with some of his stories. Even then, I don’t have to adore everything he’s ever made and while this is an easy and somewhat enjoyable read, it’s not really my thing.