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The Terrible Thing that Happened to Barnaby Brocket Hardcover – January 8, 2013
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Top Customer Reviews
I elected to read John Boyne's most recent book largely because I had heard such wonderful things about the very successful, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. In whimsy and style, I was not disappointed. I could easily imagine the audio for The Terrible Thing That Happened to Barnaby Brocket being narrated by Jim Dale (the man who captures charm through narration like none other), and would instantly liken the writing to one of my all time favorites-Roald Dahl. However, where Roald Dahl coaxes readers along to a message through a marvelous tale, John Boyne has veritably beaten us over the head with his message, the adventure becoming almost a side show to this main act of proselytizing.
"Anyway, the point is, just because your version of normal isn't the same as someone else's version doesn't mean that there's anything wrong with you."
Is the message something I disagree with? Absolutely not! Boyne works very hard to show us through the tale of Barnaby Brocket that there is no such thing as normal.Read more ›
I was a bit annoyed that every character, from the protagonist's parents to the six member astronaut team, have an issue of being unsupported by their parents. I felt the author was trying a bit too hard to get his point across. Not every supporting characters should have the exact same issue our protagonist has (though manifest in a variety of ways). If there were a few that dealt with the problem differently than Barnaby, that would have been good perspective, but it got too repetitive for me.
Mr and Mrs Brocket value their normal lives and are determined to stamp out abnormality - particularly Barnaby's floating (in the literal sense) - at any cost. These values lead the Brockets to do something quite dreadful - the `terrible thing'. It does, however, offer us sensible advice: sometimes being brave enough to stand out from the crowd will earn you something far more valuable than an easy life. As well as being a lesson worth learning for adults, it's a brilliant thing for younger readers to consider before social pressures make them too afraid to `be different'. It is never really made clear if Barnaby truly forgives his family, despite advising others on his travels to do just that, which makes the 'forgive and forget' lesson in the book rather convoluted. Mr and Mrs Brocket, however, are undoubtedly the exception, for they are unwilling to accept Barnaby for who he is - another important message this book carries.
One charming and interesting aspect of the book that well-read readers will appreciate is the importation of various elements of other novels: Mr and Mrs Brocket could well be Mr and Mrs Dursley from Harry Potter; Barnaby's experiences of school rival those of Roald Dahl's Matilda; Barnaby is born, like Charles Dickens's David Copperfield, at midnight on a Friday. It makes one wonder if, perhaps, the author is consciously drawing on these already established classics to repeat the oft-told message that difference should be embraced rather than scorned.
It does not entirely convince as a plausible classic itself.Read more ›
Much to Barnaby’s surprise, his own mother cuts him loose from his weighted pack and sends him free-floating off into the world without so much as a second glance. The delightfully silly story follows the buoyant 8-year-old on an exciting journey around the world (and beyond) as he quests to return to his native Australia. Along the way, he meets a fabulous host of characters and learns to love himself for his differences.
The Terrible Thing That Happened to Barnaby Brocket will especially tickle readers who are fans of Roald Dahl, and they just might learn a lesson about tolerance while they’re at it.
This review originally appeared on abookandahug.com
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book is just amazing 😊 It takes you through a little boy's journey in which he discovers that being a bit different is OK and it is what makes one unique😊😊
A... Read more
An unusual story, but quite good, for both children and adults...Published 10 months ago by Eddie Webster
This book was amusing and entertaining at first, but the heavy-handed post-modern moral message soon became tiresome, as other reviewers have commented. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Johanna
I love this book! John Boyne certainly takes the idea of what is different to a new level. The message is powerful as Barnaby literally navigates his way in this world.Published 22 months ago by Elizabeth T Pruett
Do not miss out on this book! Crazy, Fabulous and gives room for many talks with the children about "being different"!Published 22 months ago by Eide, Vilde
There is nothing NOT to like in this outstanding book. Once you get to know Barnaby, he becomes one of your family!Published 24 months ago by Lydia Jooste
easy, enjoyable read but it sniggles into your brain and makes it think! not preachy, but definitely a message.
not a kid's book
It is one of the most beautiful books I have ever read. The experience of reading it as a family was very nurturing.Published on October 28, 2013 by Miguel Ramos
Excellent...this not just a book for kids...adults would love it too. The story is surprisingly versatile and will bring a lot of smiles.Published on August 11, 2013 by Amazon Customer