The day the First World War broke out, Alfie Summerfield's father promised he wouldn't go away to fight - but he broke that promise the following day. Four years later, Alfie doesn't know where his father might be, other than that he's away on a special, secret mission.
Then, while shining shoes at King's Cross Station, Alfie unexpectedly sees his father's name - on a sheaf of papers belonging to a military doctor. Bewildered and confused, Alfie realises his father is in a hospital close by - a hospital treating soldiers with an unusual condition. Alfie is determined to rescue his father from this strange, unnerving place . . .
This will be the third book that I have read by John Boyne. I've previously read The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and The Boy at the Top of the Mountain and I have to say, I was pretty disappointed. This is one of those books that after time passes, I end up liking it less and less.
The books (the ones I have read of his) are similar in the way that they are all narrated by a young boy, however this book focuses on World War I, whereas the other two focus on WWII. Even though that is the main difference, I don't believe this is why I didn't enjoy this one as much.
The book starts off on Alfie's fifth birthday where his father volunteers in the war. The book then drags on for what seems like forever until just over halfway throughout the book where something of interest finally happens. But that's it. I feel like the whole book could be summarised in that blurb because that's basically all that happens. To be honest, I was expecting this kid to somehow be caught up in the actual war looking for his father, but he literally gets on a train and goes to the hospital. Then the story is pretty much over.
I liked Alfie as the narrator. Much more than I liked the boy from The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas. Often with books with child narrators, it can be quite irritating to read from that perspective, but I thought Alfie was very intelligent and had a great sense of humour.
I found the most interesting part of the story was hearing the story of Alfies neighbour who was a conscientious objector. Also, some of the conversations Alfie had while he was shining shoes were very intersted, and was honestly what kept me reading the story.
Other than the few interesting parts in the story, this book was pretty darn boring. So I am sorry to say I won't be recommending this book. Definitely check out The Boy at the Top of the Mountain, because that book was fantastic, but I'd give this one a miss. Unless you really want to, then go for it.
Hi! Thanks for visiting my blog!
Here you shall find reviews of all books I read, as well as book recommendations, TAGs and other bookish stuff :)
Click here to see my rating system.
I am a Book Depository affiliate! Use the link below to check out TBD!