Sunday, 12 December 2010
Review: Kissing the Rain by Kevin Brooks
Summary (from Goodreads): Moo Nelson likes to be alone. Overweight and shy, Moo is constantly mocked and bullied by his cruel classmates. He's happiest spending time on a secluded bridge above the highway, watching the cars go by. One day, from his special spot, Moo witnesses a crime that changes his life forever. He sees a car chase and a murder--and suddenly Moo's a celebrity of sorts. The police, the lawyers, and even the bullies are now really interested in Moo. But so is one shady character who seems intent on tracking Moo down. Now all Moo has to do is find out the truth behind the crime...before it's too late.
Review: I've heard many good things about Kevin Brooks since I started spending hours engrossed in book blogs and such. Hence when I saw Kissing the Rain at a library the other day and finally decided to borrow it.
How glad I am that I did! My expectations were pretty high after having heard rave reviews 90% of the time, and it was certainly no disappointment.
I read few thriller novels, for no apparent reason other than the fact that I don't tend to do gore and depressing things aside from apocalypse literature and the occasional film (Or an Ellen Hopkins novel. Who doesn't want to read the most disturbing amazing contemporary YA lit out there?) There wasn't much gore at all in Kissing The Rain, aside from the occasional fight (Oh, and the murder of course), and it was so...compelling. Any depressingness was so well-written and enthralling that I couldn't help but want to devour it all in one sitting. I'm sure I would have, had not small trivial things like eating and Christmas concerts with my string ensemble and such gotten in the way.
As well as being an utterly gripping plot in itself, I think that it wouldn't have been half the book it is if it wasn't for the writing style (if that last sentence makes any sense). It's told on the first person, from Moo's perspective, and his outlook on the world is what makes him such a fascinating character, and the way he tells things. For instance, the monotony of his life and the RAIN call for him to rename the days of the week: Oneday, Twoday, Threeday, etc., with Scatterday and Dumbday making up the weekend. And the RAIN is the bullying that he has to put up with (and tries to ignore) at school because of his weight. Such things seem like vital things for a unique character. Some people complain that Moo's grammar and spelling, which are deliberately left uncorrected, make for an annoying and hard to decode book. I, however, loved it.
It took me a little while to get used to the way that he goes from one point in the story to another point in time which is referred to as now. Now mainly concentrates on his emotions at the time, leading up to a certain event, which turns out to be a trial. Everything else just leads up to it, until finally everything is now. Not to say that everything outside of now is just narration- it's not. There's lots of monologue, and lots of rambling stream-of-consciousness thoughts. But they're so direct in their rambling sort of way, every little thing that he says contributes.
As for the characters. Moo was probably the only character that I did really like, mostly because Moo's own sense of paranoia and doubt about them, and there was no distinct good or bad side to the network of judges, criminals and lawyers that pressurised Moo for the truth. I do know however that I disliked Brady for a lot of the book- he was one of those characters that I just wanted to hit over the head with a hardcover copy of Anna Karenina. Alas, fear is fear and I think that's what got the better of him more often than not. Also, Moo's parents. Providing I hadn't already worn out my copy of Anna beating Brady around the head then I probably would turn it on his parents.They were just so...ignorant. I suppose mostly because Moo never really spoke to them about anything. But was that because they never spoke to him? This could go on for a while, but the dynamics (or lack thereof) in his family were frustrating.
And the ending? Whoooooah. I shall say no more about it, leaving you only to throw the book against a wall and scream "No, curse you, Kevin Brooks, for ending it like that!" much the way you did when you read Catching Fire. The ending, or lack thereof, is probably what stopped me from rating it a 5. The rest of the book was so good, the ending should have at least concluded things better than it did.
I'd better mention that this is another one of those books that I've read it reviews can be with all its English dialect "awkward for the American reader". All I can say is, enjoy it, because Moo is what makes it so unique.
In Three Words: gripping, gritty, true.
Reccomended for: Everyone who hasn't read anything by Kevin Brooks yet. Seriously, go and read it now.