The Terrible Thing That Happened to Barnaby Brocket by John Boyne

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Illustrator: Oliver Jeffers
Ebook from Anybooks app 
Published August 2, 2012 by Doubleday Childrens
Rating 4/5

What do you call as normal? Is being normal like any others? If so, how boring our life is. Compared to Barnaby, our life might be boring. But for Brocket family, Barnaby is not a normal child, he is a curse, he brings a shame to their family.

Husband and wife Brocket never thought that their life wouldn’t be the same as soon as Barnaby was born. For all their lives, they tried their best not to stand out. Unlike his siblings, Barnaby was against gravity. Wherever he went, even as soon as he was born, a newly baby born, gave a shock to his parents, not to mention the doctor and the nurses. He never walked normally. He flew. His dad was kind enough to put some mattress against the ceiling so that Barnaby wouldn’t hit the ceiling. 

When Barnaby turned eight, his parents couldn’t stand anymore. After he was sent to a school, a school that accepted the unwanted children, Barnaby realized that he was not wanted. To be able to walk normally, he had to bring the rucksack filled with sand on his back so that he would stay on the ground. But, it seems that it’s against his will. And one day, his mother cut the rucksack and let the sand pour down on the ground and let Barnaby fly away. The eight-year old kid couldn’t believe it.
As soon as he lost his gravity, he flew uncontrollably. He was lucky to meet two old ladies who were on their hot balloon and saved him. But Barnaby couldn’t go home. He flew farther away from his home and his beloved family. He was so tired after flying for some time and woke up in the ladies’ house who found him. They took great care of him. He realized that he had never felt loved like this before. But still, Barnaby was eager to go home. Ticket on his hand, some presents from kind ladies and the neighbors, he headed to a train station, ready to go back to Sydney.

But, Barnaby was fated to get more adventures. He was overslept on the train and met another generous man who invited him to go to Africa. Apparently, the old man suffered from incurable sickness and destined to get few months to live. He didn’t want to let his life wasted on the hospital bed, he wanted to get his last adventure. Barnaby happened to be his only companion.

From Africa, due to against gravity, again, Barnaby had to face more of adventures. Not all people he met was kind enough to him. But, aside from that, he made friends with more and more of good people. So, did Barnaby yearn for home?

Well, if Barnaby got home, what would his parents say? It’s obvious that his parents let him slip on their fingers on purpose. They thought that Barnaby being on the news with his abnormal state was shameful. Would Barnaby be as happy as he was while he was on adventure? Was being normal something he wanted to be?

Before I got the Anybooks app, I never thought that I could read this book. It’s been in my wish list without knowing when I could find and read the book. I knew John Boyne name from his previous book I read, The Boy inStriped Pajamas. I knew he has this thing to bring a story of middle grade novel. He realized that every child is special, no matter his state. He mentioned about people who were born different and some other people enjoy watching them. I remember some time ago, I read about people with similar state in local novel, the title is Maya by Ayu Utami. They became the objects of spectators. It was heart breaking. They never wished to be born like that. They never wanted to be called as FREAKS. I think, John Boyne succeeded to deliver his message, love your kids, no matter their state is, they are not freaks. Even if they were freaks, they were people who deserve love, they wouldn't bring parents shame with their state, they were not objects of spectators, willingly to throw their money only to get a glimpse of their sight. I really love John Boyne's work here plus the illustration is pretty amazing.  

1 Response to "The Terrible Thing That Happened to Barnaby Brocket by John Boyne"

  1. Before I got the Anybooks app, I never thought that I could read this book. It’s been in my wish list without knowing when I could find and read the book.
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