A Novel

Book - 2009
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An edgy, affecting, and darkly funny debut novel -- narrated by Skunk, an eleven-year-old girl in a coma -- that explores innocence and its betrayal as powerfully and unforgettably as do Lullabies for Little Criminals and The Lovely Bones

Skunk Cunningham's world is a small one, populated by her family; her teachers and schoolmates; and her neighbours, the quiet Buckley family and the five terrifying Oswald girls and their thug of a father, Bob.
When Saskia Oswald, with her stilettos and tight pants, asks shy Rick Buckley for a ride in his new car, he can't believe his luck. But after a quick fumble, Saskia broadcasts Rick's deficiencies to anyone who will listen, including her younger sisters. This act of thoughtless cruelty will see Rick dragged off by the police, humiliated, and "broken," -- and, in a tragic chain of events, will leave Skunk hanging on to her young life by a thread.

From her hospital bed, Skunk shows us her hapless father finding love, and her idealistic favourite teacher losing it; "Broken" Buckley spiralling into madness; and the Oswald clan coming apart at the seams. As we inch ever closer to the mystery behind her coma, Skunk's innocence becomes a beacon by which we navigate a world as comic as it is tragic, and as engaging as it is finally uplifting.

Broken introduces Daniel Clay as a brilliant and utterly original voice in international fiction.
Publisher: Toronto : Emblem, 2009, c2008.
ISBN: 9780771022876
Characteristics: 304 p. ;,21 cm.


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dollfacecrafter Oct 29, 2013

this book was a fantastic read, though I wouldn't categorize it as "Yound Adult" it was very adult with very adult themes. it was funny and horrendous at the same time. hard to put it down.

portmanteau Aug 09, 2012

It takes a minute to get used to the narrative style of Broken. One moment, it's in the first person as we're made privy to the inner monologue of the comatose 11 year old Skunk Cunningham; we're then given a third-person tapestry of the voices, actions and thoughts of the residents of Hedge End, explaining how Skunk came to be that way. This story is cruel, and at times, downright brutal. Children are relentless tormentors, adults look the other way, with horrific consequences. Well written, terse narrative that is worth sticking with until the bittersweet end.

Mar 19, 2012

Loved it. Main character is delightful, subject matter is a bit grim, but well done. Obvious comparisons between this book and "To Kill a Mockingbird" but this isn't off-putting.

Apr 30, 2011

"Broken" is both funny and tragic. Loved every word of it.

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