Bang Bang You're Dead by Narinder Dhami
|Bang Bang You're Dead by Narinder Dhami|
|Reviewer: Robert James|
|Summary: Absolutely superb story which originally seems to be about a school shooting but, through flashbacks, is also a stunning look at how mental illness affects a family. Huge recommendation.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 300||Date: May 2009|
|Publisher: Corgi Children's|
|External links: Author's website|
Mia is holding her family together. She's never known her father, her mother is suffering from manic depression which she refuses to seek help for, and her twin brother Jamie is causing her real concern. So when the fire alarm is set off at school and rumours fly around that there's a pupil with a gun on the loose, she starts to worry that Jamie has done the unthinkable. Ignoring all common sense, she desperately tries to see for herself whether he could be the one with the gun…
I have to be honest, I thought the plot here was a little far-fetched when reading the summary on the back of the book. I thought Mia immediately suspecting Jamie of being the gunman was a little bit of a stretch – but when reading the flashback sequences, in which Mia describes the problems encountered by anyone who Jamie saw or heard causing problems for her, it becomes completely believable that she'd be afraid he'd taken matters this far.
Even though the main narrative of the book takes place while Mia is trying to find her brother to see if he's the shooter, it's somewhat misleading to suggest that this is actually about the shooting. If anything, the main topic is mental illness and just what a horrific effect someone's suffering can have on the rest of their family. Dhami's description of the problems faced by Mia and Jamie due to their mother's problems is completely gripping and she deserves huge praise for tackling such a difficult subject so well. I also found the book to be completely unpredictable – right up until the final revelation I had no idea at all whether Jamie would turn out to be the person with the gun.
I've never read any of Narinder Dhami's other books but will definitely be taking a look at them in the future; this is a massive recommendation to fans of smart, thought-provoking thrillers.
For another really good book focusing on a mother's mental illness, I loved The Illustrated Mum by Jacqueline Wilson.
You can read more book reviews or buy Bang Bang You're Dead by Narinder Dhami at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
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