I won't make this a long post, since what I have to say is relatively short. Don't read it. (please :)
This book is enshrouded by darkness and ghoulishness... and the narrator is just an 11-year-old girl. Her entire world and mind are miserable. Really? The book begins by the child (Now an old woman. The book is her recounting the experience) that the story she is about to tell isn't appropriate for young ears and is dark and gloomy. Yet it's marketed to young readers. I don't understand, I really don't.
Here are the main reasons why this is anything but a children's book:
- Depression and darkness are pervasive.
- a young girl (Katie, the narrator, and protagonist) trying to figure out what autism is (they call it being 'touched', 'silent', etc.), and people around her calling the boy an idiot, maniac, stupid, and belonging in an asylum.
- A detailed description of a factory fire, and the wounded and how they were treated for the burns. Her 'praying' (or rather thinking) every night for a deceased 11-year-old girl, and later Katie names her cat after the girl. (Morbid, much?)
- Katie's father bringing her to an insane asylum (he's a doctor) and hearing a woman violently screaming in the building, while she waits outside.
- Katie walking in on two teenagers (a maid and a rich kid) having an affair (twice). Exactly why Lois Lowry needed to include the maid hurriedly getting dressed 'as if her clothes were torn off of her'?
- Later Katie finds out that the maid is pregnant and the rich guy is sent off to an all boys boarding house, which she thinks is good for him since he's 'such a flirter'. What 11-year-old actually thinks along those lines?
- This will give away the end of the book: *spoiler* her understanding of what happens when the 'touched' boy drowns his sister's baby (who didn't want it because of the affair). She walks into her baby sister's nursery and finds the wet body on the floor. *end of spoiler* That's not just mildly disturbing. It's atrocity thrown into a novel for shock value. There's something fundamentally wrong with Lowry if she thinks that's appropriate for a young child. Yes, there are evil things in the world, but this type of content should certainly not be read by small children.
In short, you can see that I am not overly happy with this book. I could probably rant for hours more, but I just want you to be warned that, although this is marketed for kids, it certainly shouldn't be. I can't even begin to express the level of despondency that you could feel through the words of the book. This novel is warped, from its beginning to its core. My advice is simple: stay away.
Genre: Childrens, Fiction, Historical Fiction
Age Level: 17+ (But honestly, I wouldn't read it if you were 40. There's simply no need for it.)
Content rating (1-10): 5
Please, please, if you were considering reading this, don't. There are so many excellent books that surpass this not only in morals but also in plot and writing, that there's simply no reason to be drawn to Silent Boy. This isn't a Christian book, and in my opinion it isn't one any Christian should read.