Book Review

Ostrich by Matt Greene

Photo on 20-01-2014 at 17.57

The eighth book I’ve finished n 2014, and finally an absolute FUCKING BELTER.

Ostrich by Matt Greene is a beautiful, heartbreaking novel that has had me shedding lakes of fucking tears over the last twentyfour hours. I have just finished, my eyes and my sinuses and my soul sore after such a beating from an excellent and nuanced book.

At first, I’ll be honest, I didn’t like it. Alex, the protagonist, is a thirteen year old boy. He, as the narrator, talks about things he is interested in, puberty, his family, et cetera, et cetera, in that kind of intelligent-yet-socially-damaged manner that most child protagonists seem to have. It felt familiar, and not in a good way. But a couple of chapters in, the reader discovers that Alex has a brain tumour. And everything changes.

From that point on, the narrative becomes heart-wrenchingly moving, as the seriousness of his condition and his ignorance of this is constantly brought into focus by the behaviour of his peers, his teachers and his parents. Greene creates a lot of bathos and pathos* through Alex’s failure to understand why people treat him like they do, and he had me in floods of tears and cries of laughter over and over again.

The writing is witty, is funny, and is sentimental without being soppy. I found this a corker of a novel, and it wasn’t difficult, it wasn’t dense, it wasn’t pretentious and it wasn’t wise. It was felt, and it was true and it was incredibly fucking moving. I won’t write any more because I have nothing else to say.

READ THIS NOVEL. Unless you hate to cry.


* funny bits and sad bits. I’M AN INTELLECTUAL, dontchaknow???

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