Thursday, 3 January 2013

Book Review: Ashley Edward & Zack Stentz - Colin Fischer - Puffin - 7th Feb 2013


I got an email about this book sometime last year. After reading the press release, I was very intrigued to find out more. The double author combination are both huge comic book fans, who met online. This meeting went onto become a great screenwriting partnership including films such as X-men and the brilliant film Thor. Although, this was not what initially attracted me to their debut book, it was instead the curious synopsis and the glowing praise from Lev Grossman that really captured my interest. 

This is not my normal book choice that I would rush to read. However, for some reason, I was soon pulled into the book before I had even read the first page. How do I judge a good book? One element is by how quickly I am captured by the book e.g. how often I put the book down or how often I may need to re-read parts for further understanding or clarification. However, if this was a race, then Usain Bolt had just finished the 100 metre run in yet another record time. This book was finished in one sitting - no time to breath and no further clarification required.

Another element I take into consideration is originality - I felt the voice of Colin Fischer was both unique and fascinating. In fact I was glued to every page of this book. It was beautifully written and very well researched with foot notes and little entries to either explain the perspective of Colin's thinking or his understanding. This was reflected brilliantly in the book.

The real highlight of this book, for me, was Colin's notebook. He had written in this everyday since being a young child. The recorded facts, thoughts and observations were a really lovely personal touch which definitely enhanced the story.

Another element I consider is the entertainment factor of the book. This book was very insightful into the world of a person who has Aspergers. It allowed you to consider what it might be like living within our society today. At times, the isolation, loneliness and bullying from not being understood. In Colin's case he needed index cards to be able to read facial expressions. He avoided eye contact and doesn't like being touched. However he likes crunchy foods and finds it very difficult to tell lies. 

When a gun goes off in the school cafeteria this starts Colin's detective skills on a mission. A mission to discover the truth of what had happened using brilliant logic - just like his favourite hero Sherlock Holmes, who has a place of honour on his bedroom wall. It is a touching and poignant rollercoaster read that has some similarities to Mark Haddon's 'Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time' but it really does leave you with a sense of awe. 

It's perhaps too early to say, but this might be one of the best books of the year for me anyway. It is certainly one that will stay with the reader. I would highly recommend this book and would love to hear what you think and if I have piqued your interest!

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