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Skellig [Draft]

Style: Average → Good

Attitude: Some Care Needed → Fairly Positive

Cover of Skellig

Author: David Almond

Publisher: Hodder

Published in: 1999

Age Range: Young Teens

Period: Contemporary

Genres:  Coping withFamilyFantasyFriendshipThought-provoking


Characters:

  • Michael's trying to cope with moving house and with the fact that his parents' attention is on his very new baby sister who's struggling for life. He finds it in himself to help a strange and destitute person he finds in their dilapidated garage.
  • Mina lives with her mother who homeschools her. Impulsive and impatient and scornful of the education system, she's also generous, resourceful and forgiving.
  • Skellig is a mysterious figure, apparently destitute, very demanding but capable of giving in return.

Synopsis:

When Michael finds the outlandish Skellig in the dilapidated garage of the house his family has just moved into he helps to feed and to hide him in the hope that, in return, he might be able to do something to help Michael's baby sister whose heart isn't strong enough. With Mina, the free-spirited homeschooler next door, Michael hides Skellig in an unused house, but not before discovering that there are wings growing out of his shoulders. He and Mina continue to bring food and medication to help Skellig, while Michael's family are in disarray as the baby grows worse and has to have an emergency operation.

Themes:

  • Angels
  • Education: are some people better off out of school?

“They say that shoulder blades are where your wings were, when you were an angel,” she said. “They say they're where your wings will grow again one day.”

“It's jus a story, though,” I said. “A fairly tale for little kids. Isn't it?”

“Who knows? But maybe one day we all had wings and one day we'll all have wings again.”

“D'you think the baby had wings?”

“Oh, I'm sure that one had wings. Just got to take one look at her. Sometimes I think she's never quite left Heaven and never quite made it all the way here to Earth.”

She smiled, but there were teares in her eyes.

“Maybe that's why she has such trouble staying here,” she said.

I watched her, wondering what she'd say if I told her now about the man in the garage. I didn't tell her.

Before she went away, I held the baby for a while. I touched her skin and her tiny soft bones. I felt the place where her wings had been. Then we went in the car to the hospital.

Thursday 28th April 2011