Sunday, 29 May 2011

Book Review: Puttypaw by Tom North

PuttypawPuttypaw is a young adult book aimed at the upper end of that age group, and tells the story of Toby. He's in his early teens, has just lost his mum, is now being brought up by his step-dad and isn't really coping. One night his recurring nightmare is interrupted by the arrival of a giant tabby cat - Puttypaw - looking for his mousey. Life starts to get very strange for Toby but the pair build a strong bond and they face challenges together that start to help Toby face what is going on in his life and deal with it.

This is a really bitter-sweet story, and the fantasy element stops a book which is dealing with some fairly heavy topics, the loss of a parent and bullying, becoming too dark and depressing. I found Toby very likeable and perhaps as an adult had more of a connection with his older step-siblings and step-dad than the target audience might and also found them plausible and sympathetic.

This book was one I found myself getting quite involved in, and I kept reading to find out how the night time visits by Puttypaw would help Toby and also to discover whether the cat was imaginary or not. It's well written, I thought some of the vocabulary used was brilliant (I love learning new words and I think it's great when a YA author isn't afraid to stretch their target audience) and I don't remember spotting any typos or having any issues with formatting.

Despite the subject matter I came away from this book feeling quite upbeat, and where I had started it thinking a book with a cat befriending a young man might head into the realms of warm, fuzzy and cutesy, and was curious about how it might work for the target audience it was darker than I expected and even as an adult I found it an enjoyable read. I think the upper end of the YA bracket would be right for it to be properly appreciated and for some of the content and themes. This is a book I'd love to share with my daughter when she is old enough.

Format: Kindle, review copy
My Rating: 4*

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