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The Minnow (2014)

by Diana Sweeney(Favorite Author)
3.67 of 5 Votes: 5
ISBN
192218201X (ISBN13: 9781922182012)
languge
English
publisher
Text Publishing
review 1: The Minnow means small fry.The Minnow is written in the first person, in the voice of Tom. Tom is a girl called Holly who, at the age of 14, lost her family when a flood deluged her town. Many of the townsfolk died and there was immense damage. It was still quite creepy to learn that Tom shacked up with Bill, a shady character about town, and no adults intervened.It is therefore no surprise to learn that Tom's grief is compounded when she finds out she is pregnant following what seems like a single encounter with Bill. And then the problems with the novel compound.They are in no particular order:• The present tense is largely used and uncomfortably juxtaposed with the past tense throughout the story• Tom's character is not compelling and her voice is not unique• T... morehe use of gimmicks and devices throughout the novel in the place of actual narrative to propel the plot, as there is no plot:o E.g. the use of dictionary and thesaurus meanings to explain why a 14-year-old girl writes /speaks like a mature womano The use of ghosts speaking to Tom, without explaining why this `realistic' novel is packed with a paranormal themeo The use of talking animals. Isn't that the domain of picture books?o The use of a talking baby in the womb, without the same device used when the baby is bornAnd that ultimately is the greatest fault with this story: there is no plot. Bill doesn't get his comeuppance for paedophilia. Really?! Which editor worked on this novel and which competition judged this to be meritorious to win a major YA award?
review 2: “The Minnow” was a very endearing and charming read. It was one filled with a lot of symbolism, in the style of the talks that Tom (the main character) had with animals, the dead and her own little baby while she was pregnant with her and also with water. Water played a major role in her life, it had killed her entire family and yet she still loved it. She loved fishing in it, loved the fish that swam in it and eventually loved to swim in it again. If you look up the Taoist meaning of water it says that it represents wisdom, which fits this book perfectly as that is what she received when she spoke to her beloved carp, Oscar. It also represents Intuition, Reflection, the Subconscious and Transformation in many other religions/beliefs. And once you understand the meaning of water, you also understand the big picture of this book – the meaning behind all her talks with the fish, of being near water, of having such a profound connection to water.The book also talked frequently about the future, about letting go and how one can overcome their fears. You learn of Tom’s biggest fear at the end and it made me realise just how innocent she really was. I mean, at the beginning I didn’t know how young Tom was and only found out that she was only a 14.5 year old girl a couple of chapters in. Although that didn’t ruin the story for me, because she sounded young with the way she “spoke” but I like having information like that right at my fingertips so that I can really get the picture of who the main character is.The story didn’t really flow for me as it seemed to jump around a bit and often I would wonder if she was in her dreamlike state, the present or the future. Maybe it was my frame of mind at the time. Maybe I was a little bit distracted and the book needed a whole lot more attention, but the jumping around just confused me a little at times. But I also have to say that with the stories of the past, it made it easier to understand her present.Although not a favourite of mine, I am glad I read it because it was a very beautiful novel, full of innocence, charm and wisdom that we can apply to our own everyday lives. It is a one in a million kind of book that deserves the attention of a dedicated reader and maybe even a philosopher. It’s a book that you will remember for the strange and yet, utterly understandable character of Tom.3.5 stars less
Reviews (see all)
amandalgaskin
Stunning book, beautifully written and very thought provoking.
mikangong
Wonderfully imaginative yet gritty in realism and symbolism.
ina
Review will be up on the embargo/release date, May 28.
Jamil
I'm paralysed with sadness.
misslula23
A bit too way-out for me.
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