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Life: An Exploded Diagramby Mal Peet
Synopses & Reviews
Carnegie Medalist Mal Peet ignites an epic tale of young love against the dramatic backdrop of the Cold War and the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Can love survive a lifetime? When working-class Clem Ackroyd falls for Frankie Mortimer, the gorgeous daughter of a wealthy local landowner, he has no hope that it can. After all, the world teeters on the brink of war, and bombs could rain down any minute over the bleak English countryside--just as they did seventeen years ago as his mother, pregnant with him, tended her garden. This time, Clem may not survive. Told in cinematic style by acclaimed writer Mal Peet, this brilliant coming-of-age novel is a gripping family portrait that interweaves the stories of three generations and the terrifying crises that de? ne them. With its urgent sense of history, sweeping emotion, and winning young narrator, Mal Peet's latest is an unforgettable, timely exploration of life during wartime.
"Peet's ambitious novel attempts to tie the story of two British teenagers' ill-fated romance to the 1962 Cuban missile crisis. At age 16, Clem Ackroyd, the intelligent son of working-class parents, falls hard for Frankie, the rich daughter of Clem's father's boss. Though the main thread involves Clem and Frankie's increasingly frisky sexual behavior, Peet's sweep is both parochial and vast, with attention paid to Ackroyd family genealogy and to tracing the post — WWII geopolitics that brought the U.S. and Soviet Union to the brink of nuclear annihilation. The history lessons, linking the showdown over Cuba with Clem's urgent attempts to lose his virginity before the world is blown to smithereens, are an uneasy fit, and clarity suffers a bit from narration that hopscotches from Clem's first-person account to a third-person voice. There are some sharply observed scenes involving Clem and his parents, though the dialogue is written in a regional British vernacular that readers may find difficult to parse. The denouement is heartbreaking, as the young lovers finally satisfy their longing but pay a horrifically high price. Ages 14 — up. (Oct.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Mal Peet is the much-acclaimed author of the Carnegie Medal-winning novel TAMAR, as well as three Paul Faustino novels: KEEPER, THE PENALTY, and EXPOSURE, winner of the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize. He lives in Devon, England.
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