Everytime I think about this wonderful tale by John Boyne I feel like crying. The Terrible Thing That Happened To Barnaby Brocket is a story about a normal couple, Mr. and Mrs. Brocket, who have perfectly normal children, but when their third child is born they find out that he, Barnaby, is not normal at all. Barnaby floats. He can’t help it. But his ‘normal’ parents are very frustrated about their son’s strange ability and soon they can stand it no longer and plan to do something about it.
One sunny day Barnaby’s mother and Barnaby go on a walk and when they reach Ms. Maqarie’s Chair, a place in a park, Mrs. Brocket does a vile thing. She cuts a hole in Barnaby’s sand-filled rucksack, which is used to keep Barnaby bolted to the ground, and before Barnaby knows it he’s in the air. There his adventure begins as he floats far away from home.
While Barnaby tries very hard to return to Sydney to his family he is kidnapped by the evil ringmaster, Captain Hoseason and soon brought to Switzerland with a number of colourful characters. His new-found friends are mostly misfits who were abandoned by their families, for example the Siamese twin sisters, A boy named Jeremy who has webbed-feet, Liam McGonagall, he has hooks in stead of hands, Felicia, a woman who speaks backwards, but talks normally when she sings, and finally Francis, a man who has no ears and no mouth.
The Terrible Thing That Happened To Barnaby Brocket is a story about acceptance and discrimination and it has taught me some valuable lessons about different people. I think we shouldn’t be judgemental about people who are different from us. Many groups of people are unfairly treated because of their skin colour, appearance, lifestyle, and disability.
John Boyne has three other books that I have read: Noah Barleywater Runs Away, The Boy In Striped Pyjamas, and Stay Where You Are and Then Leave.
Ratings: 5/5 stars