Surprisingly good This has been sitting on my Kindle for ages and for some reason I kept putting off reading it Somewhere I had it in my mind it was a book written for young people and so was reluctant to read it So I got towards the end of my Kindle on holiday and started this and I was pleasantly surprised Gripping story and interesting points of view easy to see how the protagonist got sucked in. A great book for about a young man s experiences at the end of all white rule in Rhodesia now Zimbabwe It s a great book to help anyone remember the importance of standing up for others and themselves. Twelve Year Old Robert Jacklin Comes Face To Face With Bigotry, Racism, And Brutality When He Is Uprooted From England And Moves To Zimbabwe With His Family Robert Is Enrolled In One Of The Country S Most Elite Boys Boarding Schools Newly Integrated, The School Is A Microcosm Of The Horrible Problems Faced By The Struggling New Country In The Wake Of A Bloody Civil War The White Boys Want Their Old Country Back And Torment The Black Africans Robert Must Make Careful Alliances His Decision To Join The Ranks Of The Powerful White Boys Has A Devastating Effect On Hisconscience And Emerging Manhood Words cannot describe how amazing this book was At least my words can t AhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhEveryone READ this It is written beatifully It will haunt you The story is very sad, but even realistic I read this in one sitting That s how good it was Took me a few hours to finish reading this. A devastating story that pulled at the depths of my compassion Wallace explored the human ability to survive against the odds and the ways we devise to cope When pushed far enough humans are capable of doing things we wouldn t imagine Wallace brings this all out in the painful story of youths placed in an impossible, but plausible environment I could taste the depression There seemed no relief.The time was during the political shift of power from white supremacy to a black president following the 1980 s war in Zimbabwe The county s culture didn t change fast enough and the effects of the war devastated the psyche of a boarding school there Alliances built between young men, naturally and due to the war, had consequences no one should be required to confront.It s a story of the dark side of humanity I hurt for protagonist and antagonist It depicts a painful, but educational experience of the effects of racism on both sides of the divide and down the middle It reminds us we are acting in compliance by not acting at all I hated knowing, but was compelled to read It left me informed, introspective and sad.I only gave it four stars, because I couldn t stand to feel the pain rereading it and five stars is my indicator of what I may reread. Genre Young AdultAwards Rating 5 5Summary The novel is set in post revolutionary Zimbabwe The narrator and protagonist, Robert Jacklin is a white British boy that relocated to Zimbabwe with his parents Robert s father came to Zimbabwe for a career in civil service As a boy Robert is sent to Haven, a previously all white boarding school In order to please his father Robert befriends a young black student named Nelson.The school still has a very low proportion of black pupils despite Mugabe s attempts at integration As a result, the few black students who attend Haven are frequently subject to abuse by the native white population Eventually fearing harassment from the white students, Robert distances himself from Nelson Robert falls in with a white boy named Ivan, who takes Robert under his wing Ivan is a furious and intemperate young man who perceives himself as a victim of racial integration Ivan longs for his home, as it existed before the war Ivan is subject to abuse at home and worries about his future being in the hands of the new government Although Mugabe aims to promote equality white farmers fear that the government will take their land despite promises otherwise This fear fuels Ivan s fathers and consequently Ivan s passionate rage Later Ivan encounters and is inspired by a man of action, the glorious Mr Van Hout As Ivan becomes closer to Mr van Hout Robert must finally pick a side in the ensuing fight.Evaluation Overall the book was a good choice for a teen audience however it presented the reader with details that may not have been appropriate That being said the book would be a good choice for an individual to read however it would not be suitable for a public institution to distribute to students Description of ending Open Although the main character has moved on the place he left behind has only plunged further into violence and turmoil The character and the reader are lefts with many what if questions that are not answered Many of the questions brought up in the story have still not been answered today and will not be answered with the current state of the government.Suggestions This book was an excellent book that other authors could benefit from reading Pages I would read aloud Page 4 Particularly the part where Robert s father praises Mugabe and calls him a hero.Page 149 This page exemplifies the corruption and distortion perfectly.Page 250 This page exemplifies Robert s inner turmoil. This is a haunting, historical novel set around the time Robert Mugabe rose to power in Zimbabwe The reader would do well to have a little bit of history of the sad and seemingly endless decline of this once beautiful and bounteous country The breath taking part of this book is the slow realisation Robert Jacklin, our narrator, has of himself and how much he wants to belong But can he pay the price A truly superb coming of age novel and would be well worth considering for an NCEA response I am even leaving in the pencilled notes as, for once, I think they add to the story Recommended for Y11 13. Painful reading at first but becomes addictively un put downable Set in Zimbabwe at the start of Mugabe s rule this is the story of a young English white boy sent to a boarding school Deals with issues of bullying and race, hatred and revenge And the big question of if I put a gun in your hand and told you the man in front of you was Adolf Hilter, would you shoot him Would be a great book for a book club read as raises loads of issues Fantastic story, although painfully thought provoking. I found myself constantly reminded of a The Book Thief when reading this novel They are both historical fiction, featuring a child in a new, alien setting The narrator in both books repeatedly warns us that events are soon to take a sharp turn for the worse Unfortunately the Book Thief is a much better novel, and is much less blatant in its foreshadowing, and is nuanced in its characterisations.Out of Shadows follows Robert Jacklin, an English boy who has moved to Zimbabwe following the war in the 1980s At school, he falls in with the wrong crowd, becomes friends with white supremacist Ivan, and becomes an increasingly unwilling participant in the violent bullying that seems commonplace at this school.The book did well in characterising Ivan Although his actions are detestable, he is a very believable product of growing up in a country at war The reader is almost led to sympathise with him in places, particularly in scenes where we see his farm get ravaged by the ex farm workers On the other hand, the good guy characters like Nelson and the black teachers at the school almost seem too angelic A nuanced portrayal of them would have ultimately served the book better As it stands, they are simply two dimensional victims I was surprised to learn this book was meant for children given its very dark themes Overall, it was a superb debut novel. Woah This book was intense Lots to think about Painful, honest, compelling The main character s arc was riveting, and as a reader I appreciated the way his own insecurities and weaknesses were entertwined with the brutal and fear fuelled racist antagonists, his friends A starkly political and complicated story about the history of colonialism is a rarity in in YA lit Recommended.
Jason Wallace is related to Tolkien and a descendant of one of the first International English cricketers, and also of the world renowned Victorian circus owner Lord George Sanger He was born in Cheltenham in 1969 but moved to London after his parents split up Aged 12 his life was turned upside down when his mother remarried and the family emigrated to Zimbabwe It was this experience in a tou
- 272 pages
- Out of Shadows
- Jason Wallace
- 13 March 2018 Jason Wallace