Adolescent twins, Kaine and Roxy, are hoping their sporting talents will enable
them to break out from the emotional and physical entrapment of a sink
estate dominated by knife wielding gangs whose coercive influence threatens
to sweep away any crime free ambition.
The often hopeless existence of this vulnerable underclass is haunted by the
menacing presence of Sheldon Statham; the stereotypical craven individual
whose relative intellect, in a sea of moral illiterates, enables him to dominate a
workforce of ignorant bullies and enforce violent and bloody order within the
Dan Freedman’s intuitive understanding of this claustrophobic environment
facilitates a depiction of people whose instincts, by necessity, have become
more feral than domesticated and who, given only the occasional media
spotlight, exist in the shadows of our collective consciousness. Yet in Kaine we
have a character who has the potential to shine and as a reader you are drawn
into his conflicted orbit as he reaches a life changing crossroads where the
opportunity of a stellar football career collides with the quick burning fix of the
ghetto high life and body bag notoriety.
The role of the Young Adult fiction genre, in giving voice to these issues, means
that previously unsuitable subject matter is dealt with sensitively and in a way
that speaks to the Generation Z audience about the distinction between their
virtual worlds and the grim reality of life away from the screen.
Mamma and Mr Kerrigan are the literal manifestations of family and education
and they represent the forces of good confronting the temptations of evil. But
the symbolism of these two characters and the unquenchable spirit of youth is
still stalked by the fragility of life and when Roxy’s tennis ambitions appear to
reach their apogee be prepared for an unexpected final battle.
The author’s underlying message that positivity should triumph is poignant in
our current fight against an invisible enemy which ironically needs no weapons
to assume authority and yet still preys on the weak and defenceless.
- Rich Review rating: