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- Seriously Weird
Gene Kemp has written some good children's books but this isn't one of them.
My guess would be that after the success of 'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time' Asperger's Syndrome went onto the list of social/familial issues that writers for young people felt that they should cover.(There was a similar fashion for Holocaust fiction a few years back.)
It's an unoriginal book.The main subject of the book Troy is yet another 'savant' - and as in Mark Haddon's book, each chapter begins with a mathematical puzzle.
It couldhave been interesting to have a story written from the point of view of a sibling. The narrator Clare is one of Troy's sisters. There's another older sister too.However everything is hastily - almost sloppily - written. At one point it seems as if Clare is dealing with the strain of family life by developing an alter ego Clarry, which could have proved to be an interesting exploration of the pressures faced by those in a family where one person's needs take up all the attention..However Clarry just disappears at a convenient moment, rather than causing any interesting problems for Clare.
Meanwhile Vanessa the older sister reacts to the way that family life focuses on her brother by behaving in a rather exhibitionist way and getting involved with some seriously dodgy boyfriends. But again conveniently, she settles down with the decent young man in a happy ever after sort of way.Hostile neighbours turn out to be friendly after all, employment problems suddenly turn out into work opportunities and Troy's ultra-challenging habits can be easily dealt with by a few classes at school about how to get on better with people.(Troy is actually so obviously, radically 'different' that it beggars belief that he wasn't diagnosed at nursery school.)
All in all, a disappointment - though the fast pace of the narrative meant that I could read it very quickly.