Monday, 14 May 2012
The Unforgotten Coat by Frank Cottrell Boyce
Written for younger readers we follow the story of Julie, a North Liverpool school girl who becomes friends with two newcomers to her school, Chingis and Nergui, who are from Mongolia and join the class for a while. Julie is fascinated by the new classmates, who talk of wide open plains and training eagles and she wants them to feel welcome. Assigned as their guide in their new school she becomes part of their world for a short time and the three of them become unlikely friends.
The book is set out like a school exercise book complete with discoloured pages and glued in pictures. Told in the first person Julie is likeable and felt instantly familiar. The language helps you identify easily with school life and the mysterious brothers arouse your curiosity with ease. Told with compassion and warmth this story has lessons for all of us. For a childrens story I felt quite emotional by the last few pages.
I finished this book in a day and I enjoyed the characters and also the look of the book. It is about friendship, diversity and being proud of your roots. There were quite a few surprises along the way, plot turns that were unexpected, especially the ending. A valuable book for young teens, but also for us older ones with a need to read quality writing.
It is thanks to The Reader who produced these free copies as part of Our Read 2011 that I ended up with this copy.