Hi guys. Today I have a review of a very special book for you. “Only Child” is Rhiannon Navin’s debut novel and it is a very powerful and close to life book – I’m sure you wake up today to the news of shooting at school in Florida. “Only Child” os going to break your heart, be warned, but you’re going to miss too much if you won’t read this book. It’s too important.
Only Child by Rhiannon Navin
Publishing Date: 8th February 2018
Source: Received from publisher in return for an honest review, thank you!
Number of pages: 352
Genre: General Fiction (Adult)
We went to school that Tuesday like normal.
Not all of us came home . . .
Huddled in a cloakroom with his classmates and teacher, six-year-old Zach can hear shots ringing through the corridors of his school. A gunman has entered the building and, in a matter of minutes, will have taken nineteen lives.
In the aftermath of the shooting, the close knit community and its families are devastated. Everyone deals with the tragedy differently. Zach’s father absents himself; his mother pursues a quest for justice — while Zach retreats into his super-secret hideout and loses himself in a world of books and drawing.
Ultimately though, it is Zach who will show the adults in his life the way forward — as, sometimes, only a child can.
“Only Child” is Rhiannon Navin’s debut novel and it a powerhouse of a book. It’s very easy to fell immediately in love with the main character Zach, with his innocence and the way he sees the world. And it is for sure not another school shooting story – there is much more to it and I hope it’s going to open people’s eyes.
This powerful novel deals with the aftermath of a school shooting. Told from the point of view of a six – year – old Zach Taylor who survived it, hidden in the class cupboard with other classmates by their teacher Miss Russell. The shooter killed 19 people and when Zach is reunited with his parents, Melissa and Jim, they find that his older brother Andy is nowhere to be found. Later it turns out that he is one of the victims of the shooter, the son of the school security guard, Charles Ranalez.
“Only Child” is a second book in a very short time that I’ve read told from a child’s point of view. The other one was a 4 – year – old girl and here we have a six – year – old Zach, and while his view of the world is innocent and realistic, just like this of a schoolboy, there was one thing that bothered me, as sometimes the narration was much too adult for him. If I wrote a book from a child’s perspective than I think I should keep the narration adequate to his age. However, Zach’s character is of course believable, his actions and reactions appropriate for his age. He really shows the adults what’s important, he teaches them the lesson that they desperately need. He was honest and innocent and telling things how they were.
The story of Zach was heart – breaking. His emotions and feelings were so brilliantly described and there was nothing more I wanted than to slap his mother, hard, really hard. I mean, I can’t put myself in her shoes, and I don’t want to, I understand she has lost one son but there was still Zach to think about. I just couldn’t watch how alone and lonely he felt. And you know what… Andy was a great kid, that’s for sure, he was excellent at sports but he was also suffering from ODD which means that he had very bad tempers and tantrums, and was not his fault, of course, and compared to the quiet, good as gold Zach, that you also quickly gets an impression was afraid of his big brother, well, you just fell for Zach, and the way his mother blanked him after Andy’s death felt so unfair, and I think you can’t help the feeling of … I don’t know what, not relief, but the feeling that perhaps it’s better for Zach that his brother is gone. Awful, I know, and not true of course, but I somehow felt like this – it just wasn’t easy to like Andy and I felt guilty with those feelings.
While Jim retreats into work he still finds time for Zach, and their interactions were beautiful. Melissa, on the other hand, wants a revenge and she does everything that the parents of the shooter will get punished for the act that their son has done. Little Zach is caught in between. They forget that he also has feelings, that he also has to mourn his brother, that he sees what’s happening at home. They are so preoccupied with their own feelings and emotions that they don’t see that Zach sees everything, their anger, unfairness and hypocrisy.
“Only Child” is a moving, powerful story about building bridges and finding way after the tragic loss . It is wonderfully and emotionally written, with really well drawn characters and you can’t help but fell for them, and you understand all the emotions of confusion and anger. Realistic and very sensitive, it is one of the saddest books but it is also uplifting. A very important read that I highly recommend!
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