Brock by Anthony McGowan

brockLife’s not easy for Nicky. His mum’s gone, his dad’s on bail, and his brother Kenny needs looking after like a little kid.

When Kenny drags Nicky out of bed ne dark morning, Nicky has no idea that he is about to witness a terrible act of destruction, and the senseless killing of an innocent animal. But Nicky manages to save something precious from the disaster, and his and Kenny’s lives are changed forever…

Brock could so easily have been depressing; it has all the hallmarks of misery lit – two brothers in a single-parent household being looked after by an unemployed, depressed father facing potential jail time. Lives blighted by poverty and bullies and, in the opening chapters, trapped into a brutal , illegal act that could ruin their lives.

Except that it isn’t. Depressing that is – it is so much more! Brock is a novel about bravery, family love and hope.

With an opening chapter reminiscent of Watership Down, Brock plunges into what I have heard described as Kestrel for a Knave but with badgers. I haven’t read Kestrel… or seen the film (Kes) but after reading Brock I have ordered a copy that I will read and hopefully do a comparative review of both.

Nicky is our narrator and it is through his actions that the story unfolds. Juggling his responsibilities as an older brother and trying to do what he knows is right after he and Kenny get involved with the local bullies when they go badger baiting.

Nicky is an archetypal teen stuck between trying to do what is right and the law all the while trying to keep his brother safe and the whole thing a secret from his father, the bullies and everyone else. Anthony McGowan gives a wonderful story of familial love and a positive representation of a dad who is trying to do his best for his sons as well as trying to be a good role-model.

Brock was brilliant I loved it, the only complaint that I have is that is it is too quick read but even this adds to the power of the story!

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