Home > Senior Fiction, Young Adult > Life: An Exploded Diagram by Mal Peet

Life: An Exploded Diagram by Mal Peet

Life: An Exploded Diagram by Mal Peet. Pub. Walker Books, 2011.

Quite simply the best book for young adults I have read since The Book Thief by Markus Zusack.

The essence of this novel is the relationship between a working class boy called Clem Ackroyd and a rich landowners daughter Frankie Mortimer. They meet in the summer of 1962 when relationships were new to both of them.

Clem is one of two boys who passed the 11 plus exam and gained a scholarship to a Public School. Frankie goes to a strict Catholic girls school where anything sexual was strictly suppressed. Both are fascinated by each other and contemplate consumating their relationship.

In the midst of it all the Cuban missile crisis threatens the world with nuclear extinction. Will they make it? The detail of the Cuban Missile Crisis and the characters of J F Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev is a revelation. It has never been told like this before.

Mal Peet is a brilliant writer and this story is superbly told. It is more than a love story it is a social history of UK from World War 1 through to the destruction of the Twin Towers in 2001 told through the fate of Clem’s family, a family for whom it was a heinous sin to get above yourself. Clem breaks the shackles of social status that in some ways still characterise British Society.

Stunningly written with a language and style that will mesmerise you. This is a 10 out of 10 book.

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