Friday 23 February 2018

Review ~ Only Child by Rhiannon Navin

Pan Macmillan
8 March 2018

My thanks to the publishers for my copy of this book

Pop...1 Pop...2 Pop...3

When a gunman enters the McKinley Elementary School, six year old, Zach, his teacher Miss Russell, and the rest of his class huddle together in the closet, however, the pop, pop, pop, of gun fire can be clearly heard. Hiding in the dark and with no clear knowledge of what is happening they wait for someone to save them. When help finally arrives, the nightmare begins, and, in the aftermath of the tragedy, the small community around McKinley need to face up to the knowledge that such a despicable act happened on their doorstep.

Current and timely, in light of the recent school shooting in the US, Only Child gives us the story from the perspective of six year old Zach. It is his voice that leads us through the aftermath; his are the thoughts, feelings and observations, as is the way he perceives what the grown-ups around him are doing. His father, Jim immersed in his work no longer has time to listen and Zach's mother, Melissa, buries her grief and sorrow in a hate campaign against the perpetrator and always seems to be angry.

Insightful, sensitive and acutely observed, the author has with a subtle and delicate touch recreated the voice of a child and even as Zach struggles to explore his thoughts and feelings, so the adults around him are also trying to make sense of a world gone mad. Such is the strength of the story that my heart ached for Zach who desperately needed some TLC and good trauma counselling and yet his feelings, so very often, seemed to be brushed aside as the ‘grown ups’ slid into defence and attack mode.

All too often these terrible atrocities flash onto our TV screens and the world sits up and takes notice for a little while without ever really considering what happens to these small communities when the TV companies disappear and folks are left trying to pick up the shattered remnants of their lives. Beautifully written and astutely perceptive Only Child shows quite powerfully the trauma of loss, sadness and total incomprehension that surrounds a mass shooting. 

Zach’s story in Only Child brings this powerfully into focus.

About the Author

Rhiannon Navin

Rhiannon Navin grew up in Germany before a career in advertising took her to America. Now a full-time mother and writer, she lives in New York with her husband, three children and two cats.

ONLY CHILD is her first novel and with this story Rhiannon hopes to help bring about change and contribute to the important conversation about US gun control in a meaningful way.

Twitter @rhiannonnavin #OnlyChild

Only Child will be published in hardback on the 8th March by Mantle
Out in ebook now.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this recommendation Jo! Although I thought that Zach was perhaps implausibly wise for his years, the book is beautifully and powerfully written, and explores such important issues.


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