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- author Jackie French

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Review: Nobody's Boy


Award-winning author Dianne Bates has written another superlative novel following her impressive Crossing the Line. She is a writer who knows and understands her subjects well. She writes from the inside out, exposing all the raw emotions experienced by her characters, with a moving, deliberate and successful intent to engage the reader from the first to the last word.

Ron Green at ten years old has learned how to ‘keep his gob shut’. He is a boy who doesn’t feel loved. All he wants to do is be with his dad. His mother, an alcoholic with a history of living on the streets with her son, has been arrested and jailed. Ron’s father has remarried and his wife, Anna, sees Ron as the enemy.

Ron is forced to live with his aunt Maree who constantly reminds him of the big favour she’s doing him. But life with her is hell. Her three sons ‘are stars in their own horror movie life’. He is shuffled from home to home, and grabs at small joys to fill his emptiness. He makes these small joys memories, and then kills them with his longing to be with his father. When his caring foster parents Pearl and Brian go on holidays in their caravan, it’s moving time again.

Ron does poorly at school because of the constant upheavals – eight schools and counting. Angry, frustrated and violent, Ron sees everything as worthless. But his next foster parents play a big role in improving his life with their unconditional love and attention, and the comfort, care and understanding they give him. It is with these offerings that Ron’s life takes a turn for the better, and even more so when Anna gives Ron’s dad an ultimatum.

This is a verse novel; descriptive and tight. Dianne Bates has undisputable talent when it comes to minimal words with maximum effect. There is more essence in this verse novel with the carefully selected prose and what’s invisible between the lines, than if she had created a book twice the size. This book comes highly recommended.

- this review by Anastasia Gonis 

Title: Nobody's Boy
Author: Dianne Bates
Publisher: Celapene Press, $12.95 RRP
Publication Date: 1 September 2012
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9780987255600
For ages: 10+
Type: Junior Fiction, Verse Novel

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