Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Book Review: Whispers in Graveyard by Theresa Breslin

This book might have been written for me if only for a few things.If it was Harder core and female lead.

They want me to join them. All I have to do is to reach out to them...

Nobody understands Solomon's dyslexia. The only place he feels safe in the old graveyard, under the rowan tree. But when the workment uproot the tree, a dark and terriflying power is released, and only only Solomon can stop it...

Whispers in the Graveyard won the Carnegie Medal, and has became a modern classic of children's literature.

This book has Graveyard in the title and main character dyslexia. If you've been playing attention then you'll know I am dyslexic (which explains weird spelling and grammer mistakes) and that if book has a graveyard in it I specifically tag it. Also Graveyards because character limits. It's a thing I have been doing since 13 February 2013. So of course, I checked this book of the library.

This book was written purely for Dyslexia by a librarian. I also stopped at Dyslexia so didn't see the modern classic bit. So once I started I checked when this book was written which as 1994.  Two years before Dunblane shooting where at lot of laws changed. It's of its time, but not in a bad way, it was just odd going in thinking this was a modern contempory and not realising that is was when it came out 23 years ago. When I was tiny and cute. So I'm talk a little abit about Dyslexia during this time and whether it get's it right.

So I was dynosis when I was eight meaning sometime in 2001, but had been probably going through tests since 1999 so 5 years after this book was published. Solomon has his eyes tested, colour tested, and hearing. I don't remember getting my hearing tested (nor does my mother). But my eyes were tested several times and remember doing the colour blindness tests a lot. Dyslexia was the thing during time, then it was ADHD (my headteacher was convinced what I had, though I had none of the symtoms). Now it's Autism, which basically means people know what it is in theory but also not at all.

So the writer has done their research. Do I think it is captured well? Not really, but kinda of. So I was dynosised just for having Dyslexia when I was eight, but also then Autism when I was Twenty-Two so my symtoms overlap. The crumsness of Dyslexia is there, but he never get offically dysnosised. There's just a wonder teacher that realises his disability.

My worst compliant about this book is that there's speech by the Wonder teacher that says dyslexia is not a dysabily. Oh, honey I just wrote Disability completely wrong and I will forever miss-spell basic words. I live in a world with google and voice reconsigation software and you didn't know those things were coming. Dyslexia is a Learning Disability. It's a disability. Calling it a difficulty as those two thing don't mean the same thing in this situation, is missing the point. It's like getting upset when someone calls a novel a book. Yes, two different definitions. A book can be a non-fiction or a collection of short stories but novel always come in book form whether e-book, physical or a stack of maginze. Not that last one so much now and the best of those ended in up physical book form. It's ableism. A Disability is something about your body that makes life more difficult for you than people who don't have the disability, that can be how brain processes things or that you can't walk un-assisant. Being Dyslexia obvious never used be a big deal when most people were illiterate and didn't go to school. You were just clumsy and had bad joints (yeah, those are dyslexic symptoms). However, you can be a real disadvantage now. A lot of Daily Life is reading whether that's paperwork or just trying to watch YouTube videos. Disability is not a dirty word. I know this was written over 20 years ago but I don't think enough people realise that now either. I say this as someone who could just passes as a bad speller most of the time and can read most things unaided. It's re-creating the written word I mess up (then there's the Autism and the thing that making my hands go dumb as I try to write this).  Also Beslin made the main character a boy because Statistically more boys have it, so stereotyping then.

There's a lot of other issues going on. Solomon's mother has left the family home due to Solomon's father being abusive Alcoholic and then there's the ghost in the graveyard. Also this book is set in Scotland somewhere. Probably Central Belt. He love his local Graveyard, which is next to Kirk (church) which how I realise that this was set in Scotland. There also an evil entry connected to Scotland's past (go on guesss what it could be linked on, if you know anything about Scottish Supernatural history then you're get it, but I'll leave out because it kinda spoiler). There is a lot for a book less than 200 pages and some stuff does feel underdeveloped. The graveyard and Solomon's home life storylines don't fit that nice together. Hell, the evil enty doesn't even specifically want/need Solomon. Anyone in theory could have stopped it. The plot kinda works, but I think it just need more developed or more character agrency in the plot. Things just kinda come to point and that's that. This book is set in a Primary school so I probably should be less forgiving about the plot but I found it in the YA Section of the library. That was probably a mistake like the time I found R.L. Stine's one adult novel there too.

It has horror elements in it, but it's not scary hence the P5 main character (9 years-old). Horror didn't come to mind till I saw other people call it horror in the review. But I was already desenstive to any horror by the time I was in P5. The idea I like, the excuation not so much. It's fine, some of it works. Someone does die in there's that.

Solomon is pretty defined by his Dyslexia. He doesn't have any other characterisation. The story is told in his POV. Even the Dyslexia side is surface level. No one really does have much characterisation. His dad is probably the one with the most depth. The wonder teacher is unrealistic try hard. Also shows up at student's house which also how you know it was written in the 90s. Pretty sure you can't just take a kid out of his normal class on a hunch, even if his teacher is terrible and kicks him most of the time.

Overall, I give this book 3/5 stars for Rowan Berries. I think the dyslexia is really all this book has going for it. Of the other Carnegie Medal winners I have read, it doesn't match up to them. I would like this book if his teacher had Dyslexia. I felt like it was building to that in places but she doesn't. It's an okay portrayal of dyslexia and his homelife is the better part of the book. The magic part doesn't work. I would love a book with magic with Dyslexia or any other disabled character published in the main steam but this wasn't great on the supernatural side. However, this book is less than 200 pages and is worth a read if anything that I have said interested you. While I wanted better it's fine for its intended age group, not amazing but worth the read. 

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