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Counting Stars by David Almond

Counting Stars (2000)

by David Almond

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A memoir of the author’s youth in Felling, England, as part of a large Catholic family. Each chapter is a separate essay of a specific incident or person. The memoir is more like a recollection of scattered memories, the way as happens when you sit around ruminating: this happened, then that happened. The book is not in time order. He mentions his father’s death early on but later recalls events in which the father is present. Sometimes confusing, very poetic, perhaps too logy and deep for the average young reader. Oblique references to wet dreams and sex (such as the circus woman inviting him to come back later and the abuse of the disabled Loosa).
  Salsabrarian | Feb 2, 2016 |
I love David Almond's writing, and this book is no exception. This is an autobiographical account, detailing the author's childhood in Felling. The writing is, as usual, both accessible and profound - and there are hidden depths here.

One thing that was odd about this book was the way it revealed all the sources of inspiration used in the other David Almond books I have read. There were hints of Skellig with the talk if angels and shoulder blades being vestigial wings. I could see inspiration for the fire eaters in the story about passing the eleven plus, and in one of the character names. The choirboys in Clay find their inspiration in the author's catholic upbringing. And so it goes on.

This is perhaps not a surprise. Most authors - maybe all the good ones - use real life experiences and locations as inspiration for their works. The only odd thing was that as I read this story, I was so clearly put in mind of all the others. ( )
  sirfurboy | Sep 23, 2009 |
As usual, David Almond makes me feel nostalgic for a time and place I never lived in, a Catholic family in a small working class UK town sometime in the 50's, maybe 60s.
This is a set of short stories, each of which stands alone, but together they paint a picture of a family as the children experience death and loss of faith, but also wonder and a great deal of love.
While I enjoyed reading the collection, I am not sure which readers I will recommend it to. ( )
  francescadefreitas | May 2, 2009 |
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For all of us: James, Catherine, Colin, David, Catherine, Barbara, Mary, Margaret
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0340784806, Paperback)

In the elegant, hypnotic, thoroughly engaging Counting Stars, British author David Almond, winner of the Michael L. Printz Award for Kit's Wilderness and a Printz honor for Skellig, shares a collection of stories about his childhood "in a small steep town overlooking the River Tyne." Echoing the bright, witty banter of his large family in pages of fascinating dialogue, Almond recounts tales of his Catholic upbringing (where counting stars in the sky past 100 is a blasphemous attempt to know the unknown), the deaths of his father and sister, poignant stories of local boys and girls with bitter plights, a lonely old woman who keeps her lost baby in a jar, stolen kisses, whispered rumors, dreams of angels, sensual memories of warm grass and sunshine, lemon curd and marmalade. The stories are not chronological, but thematic, and they are simply beautiful. No one captures the mysticism of childhood like Almond, and his readers will be overjoyed to see the ways in which his own history is mirrored in the odd, magical worlds created in his novels. In the author's words, the stories "merge memory and dream, the real and the imagined, truth and lies. And, perhaps, like all stories, they are an attempt to reassemble what is fragmented, to rediscover what has been lost." Almond paints a landscape of the soul and shows his readers the magic of humanity. It seems he can do no less! (Ages 13 and older) --Karin Snelson

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:14 -0400)

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In a series of interconnected stories, a boy describes his life growing up in the English urban district of Felling.

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