Today we have a review from Caryl..
The Memory Cage – Ruth Eastham
Alex’s Grandad is getting forgetful. He talks to a cat that has been dead for years. He sometimes wanders off and forgets to drink his tea. But Alex seems to be the only one in his adoptive family who cares. His parents and his brother can’t wait to get Grandad into an old people’s home. Alex promises that he won’t let this happen, and attempts to save his Grandad by creating a scrap book of memories.
What he uncovers is a story of great sadness and courage, a story of promises and lies, that ultimately lead him to confront his own past as a Bosnian refugee.
It is a shame that this book has a rather slow start, because it does develop into a touching and heartwarming story. At first I felt it was trying to include too many issues – war, adoption, family misunderstandings, a wheelchair-bound friend, a teasing brother, weak mother and workaholic, distant father. There is also a locked room and a creepy church gardener who might be more at home in a Scooby-Doo mystery.
I also found some of the characters a little un-realistic, particularly Alex’s older brother, Leonard who does not seem to posess a shred of compassion for his aged relative.
However, by about chapter five, the book does gather pace and I found myself unwilling to put it down until I had discovered the truth about Alex’s Grandad’s past. I even shed a few tears towards the end. Mind you, I also cried when Bouncer the dog died in Neighbours.
My 12 year old daughter is an avid reader, and has read almost every word that Morpurgo has written, but she gave up on this book before the half-way mark, and I can understand why. For me, The Memory Cage is a reasonable read. The book deals with some complex and emotional issues in a sensitive way.
Thanks Caryl, and thanks to Ruth for sending us a copy to review. It’s in our shop now.