Academic journal article Literacy Learning: The Middle Years

Thicker Than Water

Academic journal article Literacy Learning: The Middle Years

Thicker Than Water

Article excerpt

Title: Thicker than water

Author: Brigid Kemmerer

Publisher: Allen & Unwin, 2016

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The title, Thicker than water, evokes an echo of the phrase 'blood is thicker than water' and Kemmerer goes on to explore this idea throughout her novel. Thomas is grief stricken and drowning in the uncertainty surrounding the brutal murder of his mother. Isolated in a new town, amongst strangers who are quick to judge and short on compassion, forced into an uneasy companionship with his mother's new husband/widower, his position on the fringe makes him suspect. The only spark of hope comes from an unexpected connection with Charlotte. But with this connection come more complications: four older brothers and her father, who are all cops, think he's a murderer. With Charlotte on his side, Thomas might just be able to discover something new, something that will open another line of inquiry, something that might convince even himself that he is not guilty.

The novel opens with the point of view of Thomas, and Kemmerer skilfully draws the reader into empathising with the character and his situation. She sculpts the emotional turmoil of the character into an almost tangible aura that draws readers on and compels them to keep reading to find out what happened. The point of view then changes to Charlotte, which allows readers to see that she is struggling with her own trials and family. The author manages the two points of view skilfully and the story is engaging and fast paced. The central mystery of the death of Thomas' mother, the hints of a past spent in hiding from an abusive father, and the letters of an unknown brother are absorbing plot developments. …

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