Friday, 8 October 2010

Book Review - Spies by Michael Frayn

Synopsis - In the quiet cul de sac where Keith and Stephen live the only immediate signs of the Second World War are the blackout and a single random bombsite.  The two boys start to suspect all is not at it seems when one day Keith announces a discovery: the Germans have infiltrated his family.  When the secret underground world they have dreamed up emerges from the shadows they find themselves engulfed in mysteries far deeper than they bargained for.
Review - After reading the synopsis I was up for reading this book.  Sadly I found it disappointing.  It lacked action and was written in a passive context.  Boys have a wonderful sense of adventure and imagination but this was not explored in the writing of this book.  The German-ness of Stephen's father was brought out fairly early on and came as no surprise at the end.  I could not feel any empathy for the characters, Keith brought up by a cold dismissive father and self absorbed Mother too intent on her own needs to be bothered with her son.  Keith's behaviour towards Stephen was bullying and manipulative and the unfortunate friendless Stephen was too lonely and weak to do anything about it.  I didn't even feel sorry for Stephen at all.  His parents did show concern and love for him but he was too scared and too self absorbed to discuss his concerns with them.  Sadly this book rated 2*.

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