Bizarre and Creepy: Almond's Skellig is the Perfect Middle Grade


Skellig by David Almond. 1998.

Chapter 1 thoughts: The protagonist is sort of grouchy, but the toilet in the dining room made me laugh. Now on to the rest of the book:

  • Psychological honesty: Michael’s emotions aren’t simple I like this I don’t like that. He can love and hate simultaneously, feel compassion for and horror at the creature in the garage at the same time. So often I’ve had critique partners comment on my work—"But he called the baby stupid and now he’s praying for her to get better? Inconsistent!" they cry. When are we ever, any of us, consistent? 
  • Description: “The red sauce below his lips was like congealed blood” (29), or, “I thought of his wings and of the baby’s fluttering heart” (99). It just doesn’t get better than that! 
  • The art teacher says you get better at drawing by drawing. The same goes for writing—Michael got braver and bolder, and I think Almond shows incredible bravery and boldness by writing this book that any (most, anyhow) writing teacher would dismiss as too bizarre for words. Owl-angel-men, Persephone, dying infants, and adorable britishism like blinking and bloody and knocky down. 
  • Repetition of ideas, phrases, the whole is unpredictable as anything, yet feels choreographed, like a complicated and beautiful dance. 
  • Enough of these books that make me cry like a blinking baby!!!!