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Song of an Innocent Bystander Hardcover – June 3, 2004


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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Gr. 10-12. Australian writer Bone's murky novel about the ramifications of a hostage crisis on one of its survivors isn't easy to follow, but its unsettling depiction of a child's growing dependency on the madman who held her hostage is hard to forget. The novel opens 10 years after 9-year-old Freda became a media sensation when she was carried from the restaurant where she (and others) had been held captive. Now, as Freda prepares to face life without the protection of her mother, a strange young man appears. He knows intimate details of what occurred those years ago, including some things Freda has never revealed and tried to forget. The convoluted story unfolds gradually--through angst-ridden Freda herself, third-person sections devoted to troubled gunman John Wayne O'Grady, and, appearing midway through the story, notes on napkins written by the restaurant's manager. Motivations and plot manipulations won't bear close scrutiny (Freda's carving a wooden revolver--what's all that about?), but her struggle to separate from her mother and handle the burdensome guilt she has carried for a decade is compelling enough to keep readers involved. Stephanie Zvirin
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

About the Author

Ian Bone is the author of more than twenty books for young readers, which have been published in his native Australia, as well as in the United States, England, Korea, and Germany. The Song of an Innocent Bystander was short-listed for Book of the Year by the Children's Book Council of Australia.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton Juvenile; First Printing edition (June 3, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0525472827
  • ISBN-13: 978-0525472827
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,792,613 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By S. Moreau on August 30, 2008
Format: Paperback
I am not saying this is a literary masterpiece...but it is a good book. I an hesitant to recommend it to younger kids though - it is rather dark. As a middle aged woman I would say it is too dark and deep to be fully understood by kids.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By The_Hmm_Girl on February 5, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I'm not in the habit of bashing books, but seriously, reading this book was like watching a suspense movie on fast-forward. That's to say there were a lot of good scenes, but they were so rushed, and disconnected that it was very hard to follow. The characters were flat, and there wasn't one that I could relate too, especially not Freda which is sad because she is the main character. The story seemed unrealistic at times, and so hastily thrown together that I found myself reading it only because I didn't want to waste the $6 bucks I spent on it. I would recommend checking it out of the library or borrowing a copy from someone if you MUST read it.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ashlee Campbell on July 11, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I agree. The author seemed to try to write deeply and it came out horribly. I had never found a truely awful book before this one. I couldn't bring myself to finish it. Spare yourself.
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