12 June 2040. Gandy, Tom's grandfather, is due to be installed in Nostalgia Block 95 where he will be 'looked after' forever. Gandy, however, has other plans for his future. When he slips through a door leading off the road and beyond the wall, Tom cannot resist following him - despite the warnings from school about the barbaric Outside...
Set in a future where life is predictable, controlled and secure Nina Bawden's book probes the difference between the 'Inside' and the 'Outside', and in the process causes the reader to consider where our own society is heading. The book touches topics such as euthanasia, family planning, political control, individual choice and responsibility – all seen from the perspective of the main character, Tom, who is 12 years old.
We listened to the audio version of this book, read by Bernard Cribbins. We found it very thought-provoking, and it stimulated some interesting meal-time discussions. The children (aged 11 & 13) enjoyed it, but were both dissatisfied that there were too many loose ends not explained neatly. From an adult perspective, we enjoyed being left with questions!
I'd recommend this book for teenagers. It owes a lot to earlier books on a similar theme, such as Brave New World, but is much more accessible to a younger readership.
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- Reading Age: 12+
- Reading Aloud Age: 11+
My only objection is that Nina Bawden inlcudes a few references to bodily functions that seem unnecessary to me. I assume she thinks such comments appeal to teenage boys.
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