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The Fire Eaters
by David Almond (more about David Almond) 1793/124 first published 2003
Real Life Drama for ages 10 to 16 published by Hodder & Stoughton Educational
Available from:  Amazon.co.uk
* £7.69, usually dispatched within 24 hours.
Mrs Mad's humble opinion
9/10 Very good. I am pleased with this.
What's it about?
Bobby's whole life is turning upside down, his father is ill, his new school is a horrible place and the threat of World War 3 is looming in the background!
What happens?
Bobby first meets McNulty, the fire eater when he is out with his mam. Nothing is ever going to be the same again, he must leave his old friends and start a new school, where the teachers are often bullies and seem to get away with anything. Bobby's father is ill, and must visit the hospital for tests, he is worn out and wheezy. Only Ailsa Spink stays the same, her family collect coal from the sea and she refuses to attend any school. Slowly the bonds that tie all of these different parts of Bobby's life together, start to pull towards each other and the world waits for the Nuclear bomb to drop!
Is it easy to read?
A good reader will find this an easy read, suitable for all.
Anything else?
David Almond writes in the most beautiful style of anyone I know. There is always a poetic grace in his books that sets them apart from everyone else. Here he takes the confusion of life in the early 6o's, when the threat of Nuclear war was whispering around the world and adds touches of love, human frailty and a magic quality to explore one boys life and his approach to the changes about him. The sadness and tenderness that McNulty carries with him give him an almost mythical quality, like the Fisher King. His innocence and animal like appearance, reveal the tortured nature of the demons that drive him, war. And war is never far away from the surface in this book, it reminded me clearly of when I was young and talk of Nuclear bombs was all around me, you couldn't escape it and yet you realised that you couldn't do anything about it either. The gathering on the beach at the end is wonderful in that it shows the strength of human nature not to give in but go out with a smile at least!
Other books by David Almond include Heaven Eyes, Kit's Wilderness, Secret Heart, Skellig.
Who says so?
This review by Mrs Mad.
The publisher reckons...
It's Autumn and the winds of change are blowing for Bobby Burns. His new school is a frightening place, World War III might be imminent, and then there's the strange fire eater - a devil called McNulty.
And here's a sample...
There he was, below the bridge, half-naked, eyes blazing. He had a pair of burning torches. He ran them back and forth across his skin. He sipped from a bottle, breathed across a torch, and fire and fumes leapt from his lips. The air was filled with the scent of paraffin. He breathed again, a great high spreading flag of fire. He glared. He roared like an animal.
And what do you think?
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The Fire Eaters cover
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