Sleeping with the BlackbirdsSleeping with the Blackbirds by Alex Pearl
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A wonderfully written teen and Y/A novel...

SLEEPING WITH THE BLACKBIRDS by Alex Pearl is a wonderfully written and richly descriptive novel with brilliantly drawn characters and settings. The author weaves a well-crafted philosophical narrative that serves as an allegory for the pains of being. It’s a unique work that will captivate the reader from the opening chapter. Skillfully constructed, this well-written mystical tale will have you turning the pages from beginning to end. There’s plenty of imagery in the writing style that makes you feel you are right there in the story, and that’s something I look for in a good book.

The plot is intricately carved, as the synopsis suggests: ‘Eleven-year-old schoolboy, Roy Nuttersley has been dealt a pretty raw deal. While hideous parents show him precious little in the way of love and affection, school bullies make his life a misery. So Roy takes comfort in looking after the birds in his garden, and in return the birds hatch a series of ambitious schemes to protect their new friend. As with the best-laid plans, however, these get blown completely off course - and as a result the lives of both Roy and his arch tormentor, Harry Hodges are turned upside down - but in a surprisingly good way.’

This was a captivating read that had me immersed from the beginning. The story flowed from scene to scene with ease, and the author shows exceptional ability when it comes to storytelling. I enjoyed the story, character development, and dialogue. There were plenty of interesting moments that I didn’t see coming and that added to the book’s mystique. When I stopped reading to work, I found myself wondering what happened in the book, and replaying parts of the novel in my head to see if I could figure more out. It has been a while since I enjoyed a book this much.

There’s no doubt that SLEEPING WITH THE BLACKBIRDS is an exceptionally well written book. The contrast between tone and content is a characteristic talent of only a few authors. Pearl pays as much attention to his sentences as he does to his plots, shifting or consolidating meaning with the use of a single word. His writing is impeccably honed, full of juxtapositions and qualifications that help to create ‘a magical allegory about fears and anxiety, about the place of the sensitive person, the thinker, the human, within modern society’s current social order, in a world in which human beings are the only animals who despair of their lives.’

It’s one of those books that come along occasionally that makes you want to read it non-stop until you get to the end. I’m giving nothing further away here. And this, I hope, will only add to the mystery and enjoyment for the reader. I’ll be looking forward to reading more from Alex Pearl in the future. I would highly recommend this book and would add that it has a distinctly cinematic feel to it. A well-deserved five stars from me.

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