Thursday, 24 March 2011

Carry Me Down by M. J. Hyland

John Egan is just twelve years old, yet he is the size of a full grown adult.  His teachers and parents find it hard to accept that he is still a child.  Like many children that age, he is pre-occupied with a number of items.  He loves the Guinness Book of World Records and reads and re-reads them.  He yearns to travel to Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada and visit the Guinness Museum.  He is uncomfortable when people lie to him, so much so that he feels he has become a human lie detector.  On top of growing through the difficult pre-teen years, John's home life is not stable.  He lives with his parents in his grandmother's small cottage.  His father hasn't held a job in three years.  Things go from bad to worse on a day when John is attempting to set a record for the longest time a person spends without going to the washroom. 

I found this a difficult story to listen to.  To me it felt that the adults were not listening to John.  He didn't see anything as changing other than the fact that he was tall.  He was still the same child he had been the day before, yet now his mom was pulling away and didn't want to be hugged.  His teacher's were treating him differently than his fellow classmates who were smaller.  Even his principal centred him out and had private discussions with John.  Talk about making a kids feel odd and out of place. 

Either I missed the back story of John entirely, or all the adults built a mountain out of a mole hill and they contrived to get John into an un-tenable position.  I thought that John was normal and behaving like any boy his age and that it was the parents, and teachers  that were behaving badly.  They expected John to have troubles and by their erratic behaviours, John was forced into positions where he had to mis-behave to accommodate their pressures.

At the end of the book, I felt bad for John that his parents had put him through all those wild gyrations only to end up right back where they had started.

This unabridged version was read by Gerard Doyle.  It is from Blackstone Audio and runs for 9 hours 28 minutes.
Author Maria Hyland's website
Guinness World Records Museum, Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada

Thank-you to Blackstone Audio for the cover photo.

This is my 32nd book for the Read, Remember, Recommend Fiction Challenge hosted by Rachelle at  Visit with Rachelle and while you are there enter to win a free novel..


Felicity Grace Terry said...

Hmmm, interesting that all the adults find it difficult to think of him as a child when all so often its the other way around. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this Heather, have a good week-end.

Gina said...

Interesting review. Reminded me in a way of BENJAMIN BUTTON...though I can't say that the adults "listening problems" were surprising. Sounds like they couldn't reconcile what they were seeing (height) versus what they knew (age). Thanks for sharing!

Threeundertwo said...

Interesting premise.