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Spirit house by Mark Dapin

Spirit house (edition 2011)

by Mark Dapin

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191537,190 (3)5
Title:Spirit house
Authors:Mark Dapin
Info:Sydney : Macmillan, 2011.
Collections:Read but unowned
Tags:library book

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Spirit House by Mark Dapin



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While beautifully written and an inherently interesting, moving subject, I think that Spirit House could have been organized more effectively. First, David is supposedly the main character of the novel, but we don't get to spend much time with him. Instead, we have a brief page or two that sums up his thoughts about his current situation of living at his grandparents' home while his parents are figuring themselves off, and then we're back to Jimmy's story about the war. So, don't let the summary confuse you. Despite the fact that David is the "main character" and that this novel is supposed to be about his journey into adulthood, this is really a book about Jimmy.

Now, don't get me wrong, Jimmy's story is great. It's interesting, the dialogue is witty, and the characters are memorable. (The biggest strength of this book is characterization.) Spirit House gives a lot of food for thought. It's full of great ideas that we should think about and discuss. However, the format just didn't cut it for me. I think Jimmy should have been the main character. David's story doesn't add much of interest and not a lot of time is even spent on him. Jimmy, on the other hand, spends most of the novel narrating his story about being a POW in Singapore.

I also prefer novels to be more exposition than dialogue, and that just wasn't the case in this story. It may seem like a small detail, but format is everything to me. Scripts and comics are made for dialogue-heavy storytelling, not novels.

Despite that, the characters are excellent; getting to read about them and learn about them was a pleasure. I especially enjoyed reading about Townsville Jack; he is by far my favorite character of this novel. The story itself is interesting, though it's hard not to get frustrated about the format through which it's introduced. Overall, I think those who simply like a good story will enjoy this novel. For those who are like me and get caught up in format and writing style, you may have some problems with keeping yourself in the story.

*Thank you to The Book Depository for providing me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review.* ( )
  sedelia | Apr 30, 2013 |
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Long ago, Jimmy Reubens was a POW on the Thai-Burma Railway. For more than four decades, he has staved off the ghosts of his past by drinking too much, outstaying his welcome at his local RSL, and bickering with his three closest mates. But the past won't stay buried forever. When his thirteen-year-old grandson comes to stay after his parents marriage breaks up, Jimmy has a chance to finally begin to lay his ghosts to rest, but first he has to tell their stories.… (more)

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