Saturday 21 January 2012

Book Review - Framed

Title: Framed
Author: Frank Cottrell Boyce
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
Release Date: 7 July 2006
ISBN-13: 978-0330434256

Dylan is the only boy living in the tiny Welsh town of Manod. His parents run the Snowdonia Oasis Auto Marvel garage - and when he's not trying to persuade his sisters to play football, Dylan is in charge of the petrol log. And that means he gets to keep track of everyone coming in and out of Manod - what car they drive, what they're called, even their favourite flavour of crisps. But when a mysterious convoy of lorries trundles up the misty mountainside towards an old, disused mine, even Dylan is confounded. Who are these people - and what have they got to hide? A story inspired by a press cutting describing how, during WWII, the treasured contents of London's National Gallery were stored in Welsh slate mines. Once a month, a morale-boosting masterpiece would be unveiled in the village and then returned to London for viewing. This is a funny and touching exploration of how Art - its beauty and its value - touches the life of one little boy and his big family in a very small town.

My Review
I was talking to my colleagues in my lunch break the other day and we started discussing our 'favourite books', my manager told me about 'Framed' and said how much she loved it. I had read 'Cosmic' by the same author and loved it so I agreed to give this one a go. I requested it from another library as we didn't have it and it arrived quite quickly. I have a lot of books to read, but I figured this would be a quick read so I slotted it in. It was fairly quick, I started it this morning and finished it this afternoon, but it didn't feel quick.
Dylan is the only boy left in Manod, it's a tiny town in Wales with a few shops and not much else, but a host of characters. Dylan helps in his dad's garage, he notes down all the comings and goings of all the people. When a mysterious convoy of vans turn up he investigates who they belong to, and this kicks of a whole adventure.
I think the idea behind this story was good, it had potential and there were bits that I giggled at, but to me the book felt very slow. At only 350 pages I thought speed read, but by the time I reached page 60 I was thinking 'is that all I've done? blimey I should have finished by now.' It just felt very slow. Dylan makes friends with Nice Tom (once known as Daft Tom), who is obsessed with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Now I grew up with the TMNT and rather enjoyed them, my brother had some of the toys and I would sit with him and play, but I found the constant reference to them throughout the book more than annoying. episodes, plots and characters would be analyzed to the nth degree. It really started to annoy me.
I liked the two old ladies that lived in the mountains, they were good comic relief and Dylan's younger sister Minnie was great. I loved that his older sister Marie was so independent and practical, but then she has a sort of break down and locks herself in her room. Not sure why it was necessary.
The references to famous painting are great and I had heard of a lot of them, and those I hadn't I looked up, kids could certainly learn a bit about art from reading this. but for me the whole thing fell a little bit flat. I'm glad that I read it and it did have it's moments but I felt a bit disappointed, after i loved Cosmic so much I expected more. But it hasn't put me off, I will still try to read some of his other books. 

My Rating

No comments: