Book Review

Each month the Two Wells Book Club will bring you a review of the book read by the group the previous month. The book club meets once a month at the Two Wells Library. We hope you enjoy the segment and are provided with an opportunity to engage with some books that you might never have thought to pick up and read. This month’s book is ‘I’m not scared’ by Niccolo Ammaniti.

I’m not Scared

Niccolo Ammaniti is an Italian writer, ‘I’m not Scared’ is his third book, and since its publication in 2001, has been translated into 20 languages

Receiving worldwide acclaim it was later adapted into a film in 2003.

Set in southern Italy in the late 1970’s, during the hottest summer of the twentieth century, six children venture out on their bikes across the scorched, deserted countryside whilst the adults take shelter indoors.

One of the six, nine-year-old Michele Amitrano, discovers a secret so momentous, so terrible, that he dare not tell anyone about it.

This is a poignant coming of age story about the loss of innocence of a rural Italian boy.

The tale is told from the point-of-view of the young protagonist who finds himself initially ‘outside’ the events that eventually rob him of his innocence and introduce him into the harsh world of adult reality.

The novel is apparently partly based on real-life historical events that took place in 1970’s Italy as the abduction of children from wealthy families was a frequent occurrence in Italy at the time.

Michele comes to the realisation that the sanctity his family provides him may be in stark contrast to the way they treat those who are not of the same blood.

The reaction of book club members to ‘I’m not scared’ was varied.

Some found the book a page-turning read, whilst others were unable to identify with the characters, who found the dialogue between the adolescents less than believable.

Italy was captured particularly well for some members, while others felt the setting could have been set anywhere hot, including Australia.

Although somewhat of a depressing subject matter, the almost lyrical prose was praised by all members, which made the chilling and ironic conclusion of the novel resonate even more so.

How about you pick up a copy of ‘I’m not scared’ and drop us a line at the Echo to tell us what you think!

Next month’s book is ‘A Passage to India’ by E.M. Forster.

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