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Heaven Eyes by David Almond

Heaven Eyes (2000)

by David Almond

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Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
A good and insightful story for young readers. ( )
  thioviolight | Apr 20, 2011 |
This book was amazing.....'nuff said. ( )
  CandyKittyChan | Sep 16, 2010 |
This young adult novel is about orphans, or "Damaged Children", being raised in an orphanage in the UK. The main character, Erin Law, and her two best friends, January Carr and Mouse Gullane often run away for a few days but always make it back none the worse for wear. On this trip, they fall into an almost mystical bog world (although really they are on a derelict waterfront not far from home) where they meet a strange young girl called Heaven Eyes and her caretaker grampa. This experience leaves them much closer than before as Heaven Eyes peers into their souls and manages to see the joy that exists beneath all the sadness in the world.

Unlike most young adult fiction, there is no happy or neatly wrapped ending. This novel explores themes of family, abandonment and belonging. The author explains very little, but reveals his messages through the actions and feelings of his characters.

Worth reading. ( )
1 vote LynnB | Apr 5, 2010 |
David Almond writes books that are some of the most profound young adult literature I have ever read. Apart from their short length, they would rate up there with any of the great works of contemporary fiction - and for young adult readers moving into a more mature theme, these works are ideal.

Okay when I said "more mature" that sounded patronising! But I cannot think of a better word. These books are deeper than most adult novels I read. But that does not mean you have to be mature to get something from them. They are written primarily for young adults, but loved by adults too. If you know a better word for that - let me know!

In this story we are intrduced to Erin Law, orphaned and living in care with other such children. They are encouraged to share their feelings about what has happened in "circle times", although Erin refuses too. They are labelled as "damaged" and encouraged to believe that they are victims of circumstance that will leave them unloved by the world.

But from time to time they run away, and on one such adventure, Erin and two friends cross a river on a raft and end up at a wharf in the muddy Black Middens area, where they meet an old man and another orphan - heaven eyes.

David Almonds works are laced with mystery, and some of that mystery remains unresolved. Who is Heaven Eyes? Ultimately the answer to that is less important than what she teaches the children about love and family and their own place in the world.

There is sadness in this book. The author, who lost a parent and a sister at an early age speaks from experience on that score, and the voices of these children are realistic and almost heart breaking at times. But the ultimate story is one of hope.

Not everyone will like this book. David Almond's books are light in enthralling plot, and heavy in characterisation. Some people will give up on the book asking "well what was it about"? Each to their own - and if you like books that are all plot and adventure, then maybe this is not for you. Then again, it is a short work and maybe it is worth a try anyway! If you like deep mystical books with a hint of magic and a large dose of realism, then this one is recommended. ( )
1 vote sirfurboy | Sep 28, 2009 |
A strange and mysterious novel about a young girl, seemingly orphaned. The writing style is also mysterious; the author never reveals anything directly. The characters are deep as is the plot. This is a great young adult novel. ( )
  Saieeda | Jun 7, 2009 |
Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
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Voor Jim en Kathleen Almond
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Ik heet Erin Law. Mijn beste vrienden zijn Januari Carr en Muis Gullane.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0440229103, Mass Market Paperback)

British author David Almond is on a roll. His first book for young readers, Skellig, won a prestigious 2000 Michael L. Printz Honor award, and his second, Kit's Wilderness, won the Printz outright in 2001. Now comes a third, Heaven Eyes, which features a series of haunting, sepia-toned landscapes and a young narrator (an orphan) named Erin Law.

One night, Erin and her friends January Carr and Mouse Gullane flee from the orphanage, sailing down the moonlit river on a makeshift raft. As they are dragged into the mighty current, January's eyes are wild with joy. "'Freedom,' he whispered. 'Freedom, Erin!'" Before they know it, however, the three adventurers run aground in sticky, oily, stinking, quicksand-like mud--the Black Middens. There they are greeted by a moon-eyed, diaphanous girl named Heaven Eyes, who speaks strangely and insists they are her long-lost sister and brothers, albeit "all filthy as filthy."

She leads them back to her bizarre, broken world of abandoned printing works and warehouses full of tinned food and chocolates. Her sole companion is Grampa, who is straggly haired and just plain scary. Cocking a wary eye at the three visitors, he scribbles in his book: "Mebbe they're ghosts. Mebbe they're devils sent from hell or angels sent from heaven." Despite Grampa's frightening demeanor, however, Erin is completely taken by the guileless Heaven Eyes and the idea of being her "bestest friend." The sweet, simple Mouse soon relishes his role as Grampa's Little Helper, digging treasures out of the inky mud night after night. January, however, bitterly resents his o'er-hasty loss of freedom, sacrificed to a crazy world of "bloody freaks." Almond's choreography is masterful, and as the four children dance about each other we learn what, at the core, makes each of their young hearts beat faster.

As always, Almond shows us a world where the joy and terror of being alive coexist. What is real, what is imagined, what is remembered, and what is dreamed, all fuse together--and however dark his tales, he manages to tell stories infused with both hope and persistent, persuasive love. (Ages 10 and older) --Karin Snelson

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:52 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

Having escaped from their orphanage on a raft, Erin, January, and Mouse float down into another world of abandoned warehouses and factories, meeting a strange old man and an even stranger girl with webbed fingers and little memory of her past. Now available in this Readers Circle edition, featuring a reading group discussion guide, Almond's tale takes two runaways, hungry for freedom from the home, on a journey to somewhere they never expected to go. In the mud of the Black Middens, Erin and January find the strange girl called Heaven Eyes, and it is she who will help these damaged children.… (more)

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