Sunday, 2 July 2017

Zeustian Logic by Sabrina Malcolm    {Reviewed by STELLA}
If only real life could be like as magical as the stars in the night sky, as escapist as the stories of the Greek gods he tells his little brother to help him sleep at night, or as logical as a mathematical equation. Tuttle (Duncan) would rather look at stars, visit the Carter Observatory and play computer games with his mate, Attila the Pun, but life has other, more urgent things in train for our nerdy teen. Tuttle’s Dad, a once famous, now infamous, mountain climber has been missing, presumed dead in a storm on Mt. Everest, accused of leaving his paying customer to die on the mountain. Tuttle is determined to find out the truth, but more pressing still are his mother’s fall into depression, his younger brother’s anxiety, and how to make sure the family are fed, get to school on time and avoid all the hassles of the social worker and the persistent journalist. And Tuttle also has the aggravating presence of Boyd, the petrol head neighbour who drives him insane. Zeustian Logic is reminiscent, in style, of Kate De Goldi’s The 10pm Question, with its compelling main character, serious issues – in this case the death of a parent and the fallout this has for a family – mixed with humour and compassion, against a backdrop of the everyday ups and downs of being a young teen coping with secondary school and of attempting to find resolutions to sometimes impossible problems. The book is cleverly set a year on from the event that changes this family’s lives – the relations and friends have been supportive and cared for them but now everyone has got on with their lives while Tuttle and his mother and brother are still living in a limbo-land, one in which grief is still ever-present, where the pressures on this young man are reaching a breaking point. Sabrina Malcolm has written a brilliant book about a boy coping with the death of his father and the impact that grief has on a family. In this climate of chaos, sadness and anger, Malcolm avoids clichés and resolution to create an ultimately affecting story about recovery from trauma and how family are the anchor points in their own constellation.

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