I’m not going to review this as such, because I’m in a chat mood (rather than critique)… but holy cow, I just read Skellig and now, by way of an epiphany, I can see the little Skellig-sized hole running through the last 40 years of my life.
How did I not read this in school? How did I not pick it up in a library?
Still, I’ve read it now, and I’m pretty in love with Skellig (the character, not the book, OK both). He’s real to me; I knew him already — he’s the dark-haired boy I chased though childhood, who evaded me in the end.
So, OK, little Michael has moved to a new house across town, and he’s missing his old home. The new, derelict house was supposed to be an adventure — doing it up, having a new baby in it and creating a wonderful family nest, but the baby arrives early and she’s really, really ill. While Michael’s parents struggle to attend to him and renovate the house, torn as they are between their daughter’s desperate illness and their son’s need for stability, Michael explores his new home. The bright and adventurous home-educated Mina from opposite joins him, quoting William Blake and sharing secrets. She’s found owls in her grandfather’s old home, and Michael’s found Skellig in his dilapidated garage. But who is Skellig? This broken-down, cobweb-covered, crumpled being who huddles with his secrets behind the tea chests — is he hideous or beautiful? Benevolent or scary? Is he even real?
It’s the story about a warm, caring family’s journey through a hard time, a boy growing up, and about the things we cling to when we really need help. If you’ve not read it, I recommend it, whether you have kids to read with or not. As Tania Hershman pointed out on Twitter, this story isn’t just for children — it’s for anyone who ever was one.