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The Minnow by Diana Sweeney

April 9, 2014

MinnowThe Minnow by Diana Sweeney. Pub.Text Publishing, 2014.

A book with a laid back gentleness about it even though it deals with the very human truth of grief and loss.

Tom is going on 15 years and she is pregnant to Bill, a shifty character who is old enough to be her father. He took advantage of her through their love of fishing when Tom was in shock and grieving for the loss of her mother, father and sister Sarah in a flood.

Tom calls the growing foetus The Minnow and she talks to it and it talks back to her in one of the strange relationships in this novel. Tom has other relationships that are strange. She talks to her Papa who has been dead for 30 years, Papa appears to her throughout the novel and their relationship is critical to Tom’s grieving process.

Tom is warned that Bill is wanted by the police but she does nothing. Bill is in her eyes half of The Minnow and they still fish together. She doesn’t know what she feels about Bill and the reader gets the feeling that it is abuse.

Tom moves in with a boy from school named Jonah, who also suffered a loss in the flood, and this relationship helps her on the road to recovery. I can tell you no more read it you will become as absorbed in Tom and Minnow’s story as I was.

A first novel for Diana Sweeney and it won the Text Prize for Young Adult and Children’s Writing. I think it deserved to. I particularly enjoyed the language told through Tom’s passion for interesting words that you need a thesaurus to understand.

A novel about letting go those precious moments you spent with your parents and siblings and now can be no more.



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