'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Thursday 9 June 2011

Review: Against the Odds

Kiki's father is a doctor, and he's gone to help in a war zone. Kiki knows this isn't a good idea - "You're heading the wrong way when you go off to a war. It's better to stay as far away from wars as you can." - and she's nervous. Terrified.

Her mother tries to help. She explains about the theory of odds - you know a lot of kids with fathers, right? Then the odds of losing a father are very small. So there's no need to worry.

Except that Kiki is still worried.

When she tries to play with the odds to make them even more in her favour, against a backdrop of her father reported missing and a family torn with torment, Kiki will learn a lot about life and how much control people really have.

Translated from the critically acclaimed Dutch novel, this is a stunning piece of literature.

Hof's writing is blunt. Written in the first person, she spares us nothing, assuming her reader wants to know the truth from Kiki's perspective, not some glossed down version of events hidden amidst small talk.

The details are bare - we don't know how old our character is, what she looks like, what her interests even are. These are the things that just don't matter when there is so much at stake, when we're dealing with life and death. But what she does share with us, she shares in depth.

So much is explored in this book: life, destiny, grief, the horror of disappearance, family dynamics, whether someone should be considered a selfless hero for going to war or a selfish person for leaving their family.

Thought provoking, beautiful, raw.

Title: Against the Odds
Author: Marjolijn Hof
Publisher: Allen and Unwin, $15.99 RRP
Publication Date: 30 May 2011
ISBN: 9781742375083
Format: Paperback
For ages: 9 - 12
Type: Novel