Thursday, September 24, 2009

Kit's Wilderness by David Almond

This is my first buddy review/read with Darren from Bart's Bookshelf. Hopefully there will be more in the future. Below you will find my answers to his questions, while on his blog you can see his answers to my questions.
The Watson family moves to Stoneygate, an old coal-mining town, to care for Kit’s recently widowed grandfather. When Kit meets John Askew, another boy whose family has both worked and died in the mines, Askew invites Kit to join him in playing a game called Death. As Kit’s grandfather tells him stories of the mine’s past and the history of the Watson family, Askew takes Kit into the mines, where the boys look to find the childhood ghosts of their long-gone ancestors. Written in haunting, lyrical prose, Kit’s Wilderness examines the bonds of family from one generation to the next, and explores how meaning and beauty can be revealed from the depths of darkness.
So, to start with, what did you think of Kit himself, did you like him?
I wasn't sure about Kit in the beginning. By the time that the book got over with, though, I didn't mind him. He was an interesting character, actually. He grew on me. I liked him by the end of the book. He didn't really know who he was, but he knew that he had a very detailed history that he has to live up to. As you start to learn about the history of his town and how it relates to him it makes him more of a character to learn about. I didn't love Kit, though. I found him hard to relate to and I didn't really care about him. I guess it is possible to find a person interesting without really caring enough about them to say you like them or hate them.

My dad's family come from an area not very many miles from where the book is set, so I think this could be one of the reasons I may have enjoyed the book better than you did, as it was instantly recognisable to me, what did you think of the world in which it was set?
Well, I have not been there, but it was easy to recognize the geography. I think it worked really well for the story, though. I wouldn't mind visiting there and seeing all the history that I was represented by the geography and the careers that were created as a result. It is land that leads to the lifestyle of the inhabitants and the story would not have worked without it. I liked the world.

Okay, lets look at the positives, tell me about something you did particually like about the book?
The history of the town. I really liked it. It all related to Kit's grandfather and the men that he worked with. It's really why I read it. His grandfathers' story was interesting. The mining life was the lifestyle of the town and involved with the progression of the story. It was really good how what happened in the past relates to what is happening to Kit in the future. His grandfathers' story is his story, too. Almond weaves the story together really well. He is a good writer, this novel just didn't work for me as well as others.

Well, I've got to admit what you liked, so it's only fair to let you explain what you think caused it to drag so much for you?
I think I have related a few of my problems by answering the other questions. I couldn't really relate to Kit. He just didn't interest me all that much. I found the weaving of his grandfathers' history and his present interesting, but I didn't really feel anything for Kit through the course of the book. If the history of the mines and his grandfather were not included, I probably wouldn't have read the entire book. I just couldn't get engrossed enough in the story to appreciate it, I guess. I had a hard time getting into it and staying interested.

Lastly, have you read any Almond before? Has this one made more or less likely to read him again?
This is actually the third Almond novel I have read this year. While it is not my favourite book by him, I do enjoy his writing overall and I hope to read more from him in the future.


  1. This sounds beautiful! I loved Skellig, so will have to check out more of Almond's writing. Thanks!

  2. Your blog is so dangerous for me as you read so many books that I have never even heard of or encountered before...

    PS- I am ready when you are for a buddy read!!

  3. I'm loving the buddy reads & reviews! So far,I'm on the fence as to whether I'd read Kit's Wilderness or not. Heading over to Bart's Bookshelf to see if he knocks me off the fence one way or the other.

  4. I haven't read anything by this author but have placed an order for Skellig a while ago. Thanks for the review!

  5. It's funny about Kit being somewhat interesting to you but not enough to care about without the grandfather's storyline.


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