16 August 2011

Blueeyedboy - Joanne Harris

Joanne Harris shows us her darker, more twisted side with this stunning novel about a murderous blue eyed boy and his life.

Completely online, the book shows us the posts of the protagonist; the fiction, open to the public, and the restricted posts, where his true nature comes alive. The online world becomes a sort of cocoon from the rest of the world for him; it allows him to have friends and a life away from his suffocating mother. The way the book is written means that the lines of fact and fiction blend together so well you don't know what's real in his story. Could the dark fiction really be a guise for the truth?

The story is full of twists to keep the reader interested, as well as the intriguing murder of an innocent blind girl. Family relationships take centre stage in this story, as we see an overbearing and violent single mother juxtaposed with what might have been a lovely family. But life is never that simple, and that family were not all that lovely, in the end.

Death, of course, features largely in the book. It exists rather a lot in the main characters fiction, in the place where he goes to do things he otherwise would not do. Mental health is also a subtext, as most of the characters seem more than a little unbalanced.

Joanne Harris writes in an almost flawless manner, giving her characters scarily realistic personalities and pushing those unwanted thoughts of ours to foreground. What if the boy next door was a murderer? What if what people write in their stories was actually an autobiography?

All I can say is that this has one heck of a finale. For anyone who has a slightly darker imagination, or anyone particularly interested in online writing and murderers, this one may be for you. For Joanne Harris readers, you may like to know that there are a couple of friendly places lurking among this story that may just please you.

10 out of 10 for a wonderfully compelling and gripping read.

(For a similar read, try Joanne Harris's Gentlemen and Players)