My Name Is Mina by David Almond
|My Name is Mina by David Almond|
|Reviewer: Jill Murphy|
|Summary: Prequel to Skellig in which the reader finds out a great deal more about Mina and the loss of her father. Beautiful language and glimpses of Almond's other books makes this a treasure for fans of this man's lyrical work.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 304||Date: September 2011|
|External links: Author's website|
We first Mina in Skellig. A homeschooled, William Blake-loving, slightly precious child, she arrived in Michael's life with not a little whiff of the culture shock about her. Now, we can find out what really makes Mina tick as we read through her journal. Mina is full of contradictions. She likes to be different, individual, but she doesn't like being a misfit. She wants friends but she doesn't know how to make them or to keep them. She is both reflective and impulsive. Her diary entries reflect her capricious nature. Sometimes they are upbeat. Sometimes they are sad. They come in big letters and little letters, in lots of words and in few words, in poems and in prose. Sometimes they're completely blank.
And as Mina's tale unfolds, we see events mirror those in Skellig as her neighbour dies and Michael's family view the house and eventually move in.
It's beautiful, of course. Everything David Almond writes is beautiful. There is lyrical language, themes of love and loss, philosophical musing and a big dollop of love. The strongest theme is one of loss - many of Mina's problems and feelings stem from the death of her father when she was just a tiny thing. Fans of Almond's work will also see traces of his other books - the clay man given life in Clay, thoughts about transformations and the nature of religion. Perhaps these things make it a book mostly for readers already attuned to Almond - I certainly wouldn't recommend reading My Name is Mina before reading some of his other books, especially Skellig.
Of course, nobody should read this book before they have read the wonderful Skellig. We'd also recommend Hate That Cat by Sharon Creech, in which another child expresses its feelings through poetry, and Season of Secrets by Sally Nicholls, which blends magic realism with kitchen sink drama.
You can read more book reviews or buy My Name Is Mina by David Almond at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy My Name Is Mina by David Almond at Amazon.com.
My Name Is Mina by David Almond is in the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize 2011.
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