Thursday, 14 May 2015

Boo: A Novel by Neil Smith

A Novel
by Neil Smith
Trade Paperback, 320 pages

Boo is a strange and magical book. A book about life, death, the afterlife (such as it is), bullying, being weird, self-discovery, and forgiveness.

This all happens in an odd yet compelling format. And Neil Smith pulls it off.

In an afterlife of thirteen year-olds, Boo, ever the scientist, sets out to discover the truth about his surroundings and ultimately himself.

It is odd and oddly real. Touching and funny and heartwarming.

And you will immediately think of all the people that need to read it.

Good for ages 12 to 112, and likely should become part of the curriculum. I just handed it to my 23 year-old son, I hope he recommends it to all his friends.

From the Back Flap:

Boo is the highly anticipated debut novel from one of the most incomparable voices in Canadian literature: Bang Crunch author Neil Smith.
          Oliver Dalrymple, nicknamed "Boo" because of his pale complexion and staticky hair, is an outcast at his Illinois middle school--more interested in biology and chemistry than the friendship of other kids. But after a tragic accident, Boo wakes up to find himself in a very strange sort of heaven: a town populated only by 13-year-old Americans. While he desperately wants to apply the scientific method to find out how this heaven works (broken glass grows back; flashlights glow without batteries; garbage chutes plummet to nowhere), he's confronted by the greatest mystery of all--his peers. With the help of his classmate Johnny, who was killed at the same time, Boo begins to figure out what exactly happened to them (and who they really were back in America) through this story about growing up, staying young and the never-ending heartbreak of being 13.

NEIL SMITH is a French translator and the author of the critically acclaimed national bestseller Bang Crunch. He has been nominated for the Hugh McLennan Prize for Fiction, the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize–Best First Book (Canada), as well as the Journey Prize 3 times. He has also won the First Book Prize from the Quebec Writers’ Federation. He lives in Montreal.