Friday, 11 November 2016

Review: Dear Charlie by N. D. Gomes

Dear Charlie
Death should never meet the young. But it did. Thanks to my brother, death made fourteen new friends that day. Maybe even fifteen, if you count Charlie.

At sixteen, Sam Macmillan is supposed to be thinking about girls, homework and his upcoming application to music college, not picking up the pieces after the school shooting that his brother Charlie committed.

Yet as Sam desperately tries to hang on to the memories he has of his brother, the media storm surrounding their family threatens to destroy everything. And Sam has to question all he thought he knew about life, death, right and wrong.

Shona's review 5 of 5 stars

Dear Charlie follows Sam as he tries to come to terms with not just the loss of his older brother, but the school shooting his brother committed before taking his own life. Because of his brothers actions his family are persecuted by the public who want/need someone to blame since Charlie isn't around, and because there are no obvious reasons as to why Charlie did what he did Sam's family is left to blame themselves and each other.

This is a sensitive subject and Gomes has tackled it with compassion, he has avoided the action of the shooting itself and instead focused on the aftermath. And how a family moves on from such a tragedy, a tragedy where they feel they cant grieve for their loss.
Something Sam really struggles with, his Charlie is not the same Charlie who killed those people and he has such a hard time trying to reconcile the two. At sixteen Sam shouldn't have to be moving schools, shouldn't have to be persecuted for things that were out of his control, shouldn't feel invisible at home when both his parents are there. But he is and he does. My heart broke for him so many times I lost count.

If I had to sum up this book with one word I could do it without even thinking. Heartbreaking. This tale is utterly heartbreaking and so beautifully written. It compels you to read on until you look up and realise the day has passed you by and you have devoured this book. This is Gomes' debut novel and it's sure to be a hit. I look forward to reading more from her in future.

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