Skip to main content

"Boom" by Mark Haddon

Everyone should read at least one book by Mark Haddon. And if you’re an anglophile like me, read more than one. He has written many books for children (and writes poetry), but his name became known outside of Britain with the “adult” book The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.

That book is often marketed to be about a boy on the Autism spectrum, but it’s much more than that. It’s a genre mash-up of mystery, bildungsroman, and dysfunctional family life. And it’s excellent. His other adult book, A Spot of Bother, is a very funny look at a family falling apart and then back together again. I almost want to call Haddon “Franzen super-lite.” He writes about families in a very funny, very cheeky British way.

Boom, Haddon’s latest book for children, also features some odd families and, more importantly, aliens. It’s so much fun. Haddon pokes fun at goth teenagers, unemployed dads who fly model planes all day, and sci-fi fans who find the idea of populating another planet just thrilling. Jimbo, the protagonist, and his best friend Charlie, stumble upon the aliens and do a little too much poking around. Charlie is captured by them, and Jimbo and his older sister Becky, who can’t go on an alien-hunting adventure until she purchases new eye-liner, must rescue him.

I want to recommend this book to many children. But they have to be able to appreciate the British humor and not be thrown off by the British slang and spellings. I remember reading once that the Harry Potter books were translated into American English for easier reading over here. Boom didn’t get that treatment, but it shouldn’t really keep any of us from enjoying it.

Mark Haddon's Website is a treat too.


Popular posts from this blog

What I Haven't Read in 2017

I made an odd sort of promise to myself this year: Read fewer books. The past few years, I been reading at a pace of about 100 books per year – a mix of children’s (but not counting picture books), young adult, and adult – and I felt as if I was reading too quickly and perhaps forgetting what I was reading. (Thank goodness for Goodreads.)
However, I consider it a very important part of my job as a librarian to keep up with what’s published, even if it’s a daunting task. Hundreds of thousands books are published each year in this country, so obviously it’s beyond even a superhero librarian (and I’m not one of those) to keep all those titles straight. But I try to at least know something about some books. We have two public-facing desks in my library – one is called the information desk; the other, reference. If you are working at the information desk, you will be asked for book recommendations. You will be asked, have you read this book? You will be asked to help select a book for a r…

"Hillbilly Elegy" by J.D. Vance

I rarely get angry at a book or an author, but I found myself getting increasingly angry at J.D. Vance and his book Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis. Angry enough to blog (so you know it must be bad.) This book is filled with contradictions and in several places is downright crazy because of people making really poor decisions. I am disappointed that so many people I know love it and so many book reviews rated it as one of the best books of 2016. I thought it would be a story that would teach me something about Republican/conservative voters, so I wanted to read it. It did not do that.
A graduate of Ohio State and Yale Law School, and a veteran (marine), J.D. Vance is from Kentucky and Ohio (his family is originally from Kentucky but they moved to Ohio and the author spends much time traveling back and forth), so he grew up in a family of hillbillies. Most of them were very poor and didn't work and often moved to larger cities in Ohio to …