Blogging is not without its rewards! As well as once been given a free cup of coffee at a conference on the basis of being ‘the Youthblog bloke’ I also occasionally (very occasionally) get sent free books. In reality though there’s no such thing as a free paperback as in return for said freebie, I have to pen some sort of review.
messenger.jpgSo, ‘The Messenger’ by Paul Kercal arrived on my door mat last week and a quirky book is it too.
The book is aimed at 11-16 year olds and is written entirely as chat room or messenger stylee txt conversations between five friends and subsequently, the mysterious ‘messenger’ character of the title.
As a medium this is fascinating. Given that tween guys are renowned non readers, I can see the attraction of exploring different forms of visual type. At the same time though this style of msn txt is a medium utilized for conversation not for regular writing/reading. I wondered whether it would be appropriate, for comparable example, to give morse code operators – books that were rendered completely in dots and dashes.
The above is not a criticism, merely musing. But given that, the first experiment on readability was to give it to the tweenager who lives in the room next to our stairs. She will read anything that isn’t bolted down or breathing but I knew she wouldn’t finish it if it was, in her mind, annoying. Anyway, she read the book straight through ……… commented on the issues being ‘spot on’ and although it was, she said, ‘confusing at times’ her opinion was that it was good!
I have also read it cover to cover and actually it was a bit like watching a Shakespeare play, i.e at first the language is confusing and annoying but you quickly adapt and then virtually don’t notice. Having said that though, when two conversations were happening simultaneously it was a bit draining as they were both there on the page fully formed, rather than unfolding in the way they would if these were two online conversations. But then hey, I’m not anywhere near the 11-16 age range the book is aimed at 🙂 LOL
Anyway, how do I review a book that’s not really aimed at me? I reckon it’s an interesting device and a story that tweens would enjoy, I wondered whether the Christ figure, ‘Messenger’ should have appeared a bit earlier in the book, but I do think it’s a fascinating idea. I think the book is fun, a great experiment and well rendered. (I was worried that it would be a cringey facsimile of teen txt spk but felt it was on the mark). I thought the teenage humour and angst came across extremely well. I’m not sure it would work for 16 year olds ( I would put the age range more at 11-14/15) but I’ll try and get some older teen reaction to it.
Overall: My tweenage daughter liked it …… and hey, I did too!
L8rs 😉

One Reply to “Messenger”

  1. Sounds good, I’ll have a gander at it cus our tweenager lads really need something to read that they will respect and will build them up. And it sounds like it has been a credible attempt and not cringe worthy. Thanks.

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