The White Darkness

Daughter and I have this joke we call the White Darkness. It’s also the name of a book by Geraldine McCaughrean, and it’s a very good book. That’s the problem with Daughter. I tried to push the idea of her reading it so hard and for so long, that she will obviously never go near the book. And whenever she suspects I’m trying to do the same again, she mutters “The White Darkness”. So I’m afraid I’m a bit of a failure when it comes to getting my nearest and dearest reading. Sometimes.

I’d already planned writing about it here, when I saw a mention of the book on the lowebrow blog last week. It seems The White Darkness has won the Printz Award. And it’s not the first award it’s won, either. I then clicked on the title in the blog and found myself transported to that big online bookseller, where I read some of the reviews of Geraldine’s book. Some of them were quite negative, but most were glowing.

I can understand the shock of the negative reviewers, because partway through reading it myself, I felt very uneasy. There’s a very sick uncle figure, taking advantage (though not in “that” way) of the 14-year-old Sym, and carting them both off to the Antarctic. Sym herself has private conversations with Titus Oates, of Scott fame, and somehow this works very well in the story.

In the end it’s Sym’s courage and vast knowledge and common sense, which save the day for her. For me the word crevasse sets off an unpleasant chain of nightmare thoughts, and makes me think of a lovely friend, who’ll never come back. Even the wrong episode of Pingu will leave me feeling a bit sick.

But setting that aside, The White Darkness is a great adventure.

3 responses to “The White Darkness

  1. I would like to read that. I loved Beryl Bainbridge’s ‘The Birthday Boys’, about the Scott expedition. Tells it from four viewpoints, at different stages of the journey. Last one is Oates. Mesmerising book.

  2. You must, Nick. It’s certainly different, and I do wonder how Geraldine knows so much, or makes it up.

    Sym is in love with Titus, and as a girl I ended up a little bit in love, too. (I know you’re not a girl, but…)

  3. This boook was hard to understand

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