A five-chick review for Kathryn Erskine’s marvellous novel set in 1970s Virginia:
Yes, this book is unashamedly didactic. It sets out not just to move the reader, but to inform and educate. I normally dislike the inclusion of extra baggage at the end of a novel, but here the Author’s Note and suggested list of Discussion Questions will be welcomed by teachers who decide to use the book in guided reading sessions – it is particularly recommended for Years 5 to 8 (10-13 year olds).
But above all it is a totally convincing immersive read that can be enjoyed on an individual level from age 10 up to adult.
Every character featured in the story is vividly drawn and for all its attention to universal values the whole action is played out in a tightly localised setting of car repair shop, schoolhouse, church and various close neighbours. More dialogue-driven than many first-person voice novels, Seeing Red is eminently adaptable for stage or film.
I still have the pleasure of reading this author’s previous novels ahead of me, including the award-winning Mockingbird, and that’s good to know. If there’s any justice, Seeing Red will win awards too, and result in a significant increase in UK awareness of Kathryn Erskine and her work.
Read the full review: Seeing Red.