ARC Review of Noah Barley Water Runs Away by John Boyne

16 Jun

Noah Barleywater Runs Away

I received an ARC of this book from the Amazon Vine program, in return for an honest review.

From the back of the book:

Eight-year-old Noah’s problems seem easier to deal with if he doesn’t think about them. So he runs away, taking an untrodden path  through the forest.  Before long he comes across a shop. But this is no ordinary shop.  It is a toy shop, full of the most amazing toys and brimming with the most wonderful magic. And here Noah meets a very unusual toymaker.  The toymaker has a story to tell and it’s a a story of adventure and wonder, and broken promises.  He takes Noah on a journey. A journey that will change his life. And it could change yours too.

I had a rather strange reaction to this book. I both liked and disliked this book.  When I first started reading it I decided it was not my cup of tea, but I as I kept reading I found myself drawn into the story.  There are a lot of hints at just what Noah is running away from and just who the toymaker really is.  I kept reading to see if my guesses were right. They were.  But I’m still not sure  I liked this book.

What I liked about the book: The writing is very colorful and imaginative. Boyne paints some wonderful word pictures.  I enjoyed revisiting an old childhood favorite. (If you want to know what fairy tale reappears in this book, you will need to read it for yourself, I don’t want to spoil it for you.)

What I didn’t like about the book: Though the writing was imaginative, it was also rather strange.  It’s a truly fractured retelling of a childhood favorite. It’s also gloomy.  Amazon lists the reading level as 9-12, but I’m not convinced this is really a kids book. Even though the story is about an eight year old boy, it really feels more like an adult novel.

Mrs. Archer’s rating: 3 of 5.

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Posted by on June 16, 2011 in Uncategorized


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