Friday, July 26, 2013

BritLit - The Ostrich Boys by Keith Gray

      So often, we complain that there just isn't any good literary fiction out there for young boys. Keith Gray managed to combine a serious issue, spontaneity, mystery, and adventure in his novel about three boys with an urn trekking across the northern part of England into Scotland. Blake, Sim, and Kenny lose their best friend Ross in a bicycle accident. Only the authorities question the validity of the "accident". 
     The boys feel as if all the adults have gone mad. How dare they imply that Ross did it on purpose? And that awful funeral! It was as if no one really knew Ross except the boys - or did they? Blake, Sim, and Kenny decide they must give Ross a proper send off by stealing his ashes to be spread in his namesake town, Ross, Scotland.
The Lake District
     Like most teenage boys, they have their blunders and adventures along the way, like losing all their money and bungee jumping for a few pounds, but the time spent together gives them a chance to really delve into Ross. Who spoke to him last? Why did he destroy his father's computer files right before he died? Was anyone really there for him when he was being bullied? Or when that pretty girl turned him down? Soon the boys receive a brief message from a friend that the police found evidence of Ross being on an internet forum discussing suicide and it hits the boys hard. Denial, blame, shame. Eventually, it boils down to a discussion of the meaning of life.
     Keith Gray takes a sensitive subject and wraps it in a positive message for the reader. I had a little trouble getting into his pacing, but then again, you can't rush this touchy topic. I recommend this one for any young person affected by suicide or anyone interested in a good, fresh topic.

 And setting...... they covered so much of the beautiful Lake District and on mopeds! I still have my moped - oh, the fun it would be to cross that green, rolling countryside. Not to mention Scotland! We were so close - two hours from the border. At least I can say, I got a hint of the misty climate and landscape.
Crazy Youth Hostel we stayed in!


Fish n chips in Bow Ness

This book is not on Goodreads yet, so if you are interested, try Amazon or your local library. It's also available on audiobook for those who enjoy the accents!



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