I’ve read/reviewed the AudioBook version of Wildlife back in July of this year, and was very pleasantly surprised with Fiona Wood’s ability to write a story that didn’t dissolve into one of the many tropes that are all too familiar in teen/ya stories of late. While Wildlife focused on two teen girls, Six Impossible Things is the story of a boy and the changes in his life.
Fiona Wood is one of those authors who simply gets it. Her ability to present the mistakes, social awkwardness, concerns, fears and even joys that everyone can relate to from growing up. Not that everyone’s story is the same, but the ability to present characters that are understandable and compelling, whether or not you agree with their choices, makes this book very readable (or an easy listen). Using a male perspective and narrator for this story just increase the intrigue and unique quality of this story.
Dan has had a fairly easy go of life until this year, and then everything went pear shaped. His father has up and declared himself gay, just before the bankruptcy of his business. Creditors have taken over the family home, turfing Dan, his mother and Howard the dog, He’s got to leave his private school and friends, and of course, the humiliation. Fortunately for Dan and his mother, her aunt Adelaide has left them her very large, very strange museum of a house.
Quite a bit to deal with, either as an adult or a teen, but Dan manages to muddle through after a few very rough chapters. He’s smart, he’s caring and has a sense of humor that is both age appropriate and quite advanced for his tender years. Oh and did I mention the girl next door who is the focus of his very simple affections? Yeah, Dan was adorable and compelling, wonderfully complex character who is desperately trying to pull himself together and adjust his behavior to fit the new circumstances.
Narration for this story is provided by David Atlas, and the use of a male narrator for the young teenaged Daniel works beautifully, without sounding too mature or disintegrating into the juvenile. He uses tone and delivery to present Dan’s words, his keen observations and moments to great effect, the story is a pleasure to listen to.
All of the characters are wonderfully drawn, from Dan’s mother who is also trying to find her way along a path so very different from the one she envisioned. Then there is Howard the dog: like most dogs he’s pretty malleable, but it is his “psychotherapist’s demeanor’ that is intriguing, and the recipient of Dan’s innermost thoughts as he works through his world. Using a list of Six Impossible Things that need immediate action to set his world to rights, the story builds to present a wonderful tale of overcoming the obstacles that life tosses at you with humor, support and a perspective that is far more adult than a boy of 14 is expected to have. A wonderful read or listen.
Stars: Overall 5 Narration 5 Story 5
Title: Six Impossible Things
Author: Fiona Wood
Genre: Teen Reads
Narrator: David Atlas
Published by: Pan Macmillan Australia, Hachette Audio
Published on: 11 August, 2015
Source: Hachette Audio
Audio Length: 6 Hours: 36 minutes
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Fourteen-year-old nerd-boy Dan Cereill is not quite coping with a reversal of family fortune, moving house, new school hell, a mother with a failing wedding cake business, a just-out gay dad, and an impossible crush on the girl next door.
His life is a mess, but for now he's narrowed it down to just six impossible things...
A copy of this title was provided via Hachette Audio for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.