Monday, February 8, 2010

I'm Not Scared by Niccolo Ammaniti *Review*

I still am trying to figure out exactly how I feel about this book.

The Hottest Summer of the twentieth century. In a tiny community of five houses enclosed by wheat fields, the adults shelter indoors, while six children venture out of their books across the scorched desert countryside.

Exploring a dilapidated and uninhabited farmhouse, nine-year-old Michele Amitrano discovers a secret so momentous, so terrible, that he dare not tell anyone about it. To come to terms with what he has found, Michele has to draw strength from his own sense of humanity...

This book tells the disturbing story of a summer in the life of a young boy named Michele. Michele is like any other nine-year old. He loves hanging out with his friends, riding his bike and traveling a little farther from home each day. After losing a race one day, Michele must pay a "forfeit". He must crawl up into an abandoned house, travel across the second story, and crawl out the other side. When he travels done the other side he finds a hole covered with a mattress and a piece of corrugated tin. He moves it aside to discover the body of a boy. At first he thinks the boy is dead, but when the boy moves Niccolo screams and runs away.

But the boy in the hole keeps niggling in his head. He goes back the next day, finds the boy is still alive, brings him water and befriends him. When Niccolo goes back home he doesn't tell anybody about his find. The boy is his secret and he doesn't want to share the secret with anybody.

But the book takes on a darker tone. Michele finds out not only that the boy was kidnapped, but that his parents and the other adults in the hamlet in which he lives are responsible. Now the secret is more then a delicious one- it's a dangerous one.

I'm Not Scared wasn't a page turner in the traditional sense of "I can't put it down", but it was an extremely tense read. The tenseness, because of the forboding I felt throughout the entire book, was not a good feeling, and that's why I said earlier I'm still not sure how I feel about this book. The book was not a bad book, it made me peer into the thoughts of a child and see how they see things through ther eyes, but I'm not sure it's one I would recommend to very many people. Michele might not have been scared, but I was.