Colour and sound convey the emotional ebbs and flows of a deteriorating relationship observed through the innocent eyes of Danny whose sensitivities to light and noise hint at a mental imbalance that struggles to find clear expression.
The syntax and language are articulated in the voice of a young child allowing the reader to regress into literary short pants in order to decouple the meaning from the sound. As a narrative tool this can make interpretation challenging but it does enable the reader to get inside the sometimes muddled brain of a child so dependent on his mother that when danger threatens his comfort zone he is forced to retreat into an imaginary world where moods are defined by actions rather than words.
A cuddly dinosaur called Spinney is the focal point of a fantasy world which provides Danny with an escape from the claustrophobic space he inhabits and a virtual bubble to separate him from his mother’s all consuming passion for Karen. The emotional fireworks though are balanced by nostalgia as Walter Kronkite’s recorded voice brings the tale of the tooth alive for Danny but his American intonation strikes an incongruous chord with a millennial child. However it is his media persona and historic tv relevance that resonates and the ironic association with a prehistoric commentator seems to befit the animals he is describing.
Living on a shoestring with a tragic past Natalie’s home becomes a physical and emotional prison as the truth about Karen unravels and she dreams of a life away from her monochrome life.
Allie Rogers, as with her previous book Little Gold, sheds light on the disadvantaged and disenfranchised; a forgotten underclass whose days are given snippets of colour by the hope of love and ultimate salvation, from a vulnerable existence, but which still leaves them prey to the immoral and unscrupulous who are happy to take advantage of the emptiness of their lives.