Subtitle: No subtitle.
Place of publication: Groningen
Printing: Young Blackbirds 2003
Year of copyright/publication: 1997
Number of pages: 94
2 YOUR FIRST OPINION
Where did you find this book?
What made you decide to read it?
What did you expect when you started reading it?
What was this expectation based on?
Our teacher gave us the book to read it and then we had to make a book report about it. Before when I started reading the book I thought the story is about the comic hero Batman, because of the illustration at the front of the book and the title.
Did the book live up to your expectation? Why/not?
What did you think/feel after you had finished the book? Why?
First I thought the story is about the comic hero Batman but when I started reading the first two pages I realized that it was about a real story and not about Batman and Robin. And then I started to read further until Iíve finished the whole book. It seemed to be a story about a boy.
3 CONTENTS & TECHNIQUE
Give a short summary of the main events in the story.
The story is about a boy called David and heís around 12/13/14 years old. He lives with his single mother and his grandparents together in a big house. And then itís his birthday. He gets many birthday cards but not from his mother. David has also his problems. In the swimming pool he gets not on purpose an erection. And than one of the swimming pool attendants sees that and wanted to assault him, and threatens him that he will call the police if he doesnít let see that the erection is gone away. David runs away from him and hides himself in his room at home. And then his mother asked what happened and then he told her everything. His mother became angry and gives the attendant a good lesion. Davidís girlfriend Joan Taylor tries to kiss him, but he didnít kiss a girl before so he drops out. His mom sees the print on his face and gives him condoms.
Then his mom comes in and the she quarrels with her sister, because his sister finds it strange that she give it to her son. Then finally his aunt leaves. David wins an award of a statue that he made and asks his mother o come to the award show. But she leaves him and doesnít come. That disappointed David. Later he must do all the work in the house because his mom is never home and his grandmother becomes ill.
The title is concluded of the beginning of the story, when he wants to prove that batman can fly. And then he jumps of the balcony and breaks his legs and had to go to the hospital. His mom comes sometimes home with rented clothes and bleu spots on her and with blood on her clothes. His aunt becomes jealous because his mother is much beautiful than her and that she doesnít trust his husband with her. She thinks that his sister wants to use her husband.
Then something tragic happens, his grandmother dies. Then there are some conflicts about who were to live. His grandfather wants to live with his aunt and sent his mother away. Now he has to choose between his uncle and his mother and he chooses to live with her mother. They move in a small apartment and his mom is now in the prostitution. She is never at home en he doesnít even go to school. He begins to steal because he has no money to buy food. On a day he meets an old man. The old man offers him a dinner and after that he takes him to his apartment. There the man wants to adorn and to assault him. David wants to escape but the door is closed. And there is only one way out in the room, the balcony. He thinks about batman and jumps of the balcony. He jumps for his life and there the story ends with.
Who are the main characters?
David is the main character. He is the I-perspective so we see everything happening trough his eyes. Her mother plays also a good role in the book.
What is their main concern?
David is a boy of 13 years old and he wants to have an air rifle and further he leads a boyís world. His mother ignores sometimes her son and is always after man.
Describe their relationships.
He wants to lead a life that he doesnít want to do it. He is the narrator bust he doesnít tell about his feelings about others and what he thinks about some things. He doesnít understand much what happening with his mother and what she in fact does. He doesnít understand also what his uncle wants of his mom. He is loyal to her and never judges what she does. His mother goes her own way and ignores David sometimes.
Describe their main characteristics. Give examples from the text.
ē His mother is quit humoristic.
Example: A neighbour asked his mom after when he jumped of the balcony if he had an accident. Then his mom says that a lion attacked him. And that she wanted to hit him with her shoe and that the lion wouldnít let go of his legs. Mrs Hawksmoor (neighbour) did believe it.
When she laughs she gets always a beautiful smile. And in dialogues you see that she wants always the last word.
ē David is flat he donít feel anything of others. He likes swimming and is a little bit forgetful.
Example: His mother says to him to do the beds and he forgets it. When itís about night then he remembers that he should make the beds.
Is there character development? Give significant examples.
No there are not character developments in the story.
Which characters attracts you most? Explain.
Well the David attracted me most, because he is 13 years old and he has already an air rifle and I would have one of those also.
Which characters attracts you least? Explain.
His mom is the character that attracted me least. She goes many times away and forgets all about of her son. She even breaks promises that she makes with her son. She even doesnít send a birthday card when she is somewhere else on Davidís birthday.
3.3 NARRATIVE SPACE
Where do the main events take place?
Main things happen at home (grandmotherís house), at the swimming pool and on the streets.
Is the use of narrative space important for the people and/or the events in the story? Explain with clear examples.
I think it is important. Because some important events must take place at special places. Like the problem of his erection was taken place in a swimming pool. And if he had an erection at home that would be no problem, but in the swimming pool it was.
Also when the grandmother is ill then his aunt comes to home to do some housework. Then she finds in his bedroom condoms. And if she hadnít come to help the quarrel between his mother and aunty would never happen.
The streets are also important because David played with his friend outside with his air rifle and someone probably saw it and called the police. And if someone didnít saw him with his air rifle the police hadnít come to his home.
3.4 TIME FRAME
In what time do the events take place?
In the book you canít find in which time frame the events take place but I think they take place nowadays.
Indicate the importance of the time frame for the events in the story.
Te story begins when the boy is 12 years old and ends when he is about 15 years old. After each chapter it makes big jumps of time. With jumps I mean that they talking in the room in 19th of February 2003 and then the chapter ends. And the next chapter begins suddenly in 20th of March 2003.
Describe the time progression in the story.
The progression is as followed.
Example: If you read a part then you see a white line and then it continuous the story the next day or it is even the next weak. Or two hours later. It's every time different. Thatís way it makes the story hard to understand.
Is there an open or a closed ending to the story? Illustrate this.
There is an open end, because it ends with the sentence: I took a deep breath and it was my best dive ever. The reader has then questions like: Does he survive? Or is he going to die? And what will happen next if he really survives the jump?
Give examples of flashbacks, flash-forwards & other time manipulations.
There are some no flashbacks in the story but there are some parts that people fresh up their minds what had happen in the history but not really flashbacks, flash-forwards or other manipulations.
3.5 POINT OF VIEW
Describe the narrative point of view. Illustrate with examples.
We as readers see everything trough the eyes of David, because he is the I-perspective. He sees everything and tells us about it.
Indicate how reliable this point of view is. Explain.
Well it can be reliable for some parts, but not everything. If David things the bath superintendent is a mad man than the reader could agree with him, because maybe the reader has the same opinion about that man. But if he things that one of his friends is funny then not everyone can agree with him, because everyone has his opinion. Maybe is his friend not funny at all in my opinion. So if there was a 2 perspectives or more in the story than readers could no about everything and compare who is reliable and who not.
Is the reader manipulated by this point of view? Explain.
Yes in some ways it does. Especially when his opinion is the same as it from the reader.
Comment on the style characteristics. Think of vocabulary, structure, use of dialogue, use of metaphors, etc. Give examples.
The story it self is quite easy to read but there are words that are very difficult. There are many dialogues and that makes it easier to understand whatís happening.
What is the main theme of the story?
There are more themes than one. The themes are prostitution, family and grandparents. But I think prostitution is the main theme.
Give some quotations that illustrate the main theme.
This is a piece of text from the book:
I went to kiss her, and then stopped. You wonít do it again, will you? I said. Only proper kissing? I put my hand on her breast but she pushed it away. At first I thought she was just stopping me; then she put my hand back but this time I was touching skin.
Another example: The erecting in the swimming pool and the consequences of it.
Last example: Her mother canít stay away from man.
Comment on the authorís treatment of the main theme.
Well he did it well. He did two things in one. He wrote down the story and putted the theme spread over the story in the story.
In what ways is the main theme related to the title or the motto?
In no ways is the main theme related to the title or the motto.
Can you compare the book to another book or a film with the same theme?
Actually no. I canít compare it to another book or a film.
Which did you like better and why?
If there was another film or a book with the same them I could say that none of them would be better.
3.8 LITERARY HISTORY
Give a short summary of the life and works of the author.
David Hines was born in Yorkshire in 1945. In 1957 he went to the William Morris School for the Arts. In 1965 he went to the Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance in London with the intention to become a dancer. Rambert School is Britain's most comprehensive professional dance school and it's part of Brunel University. In 1967 he worked with the famous film director Stanley Kubrick on his space epic 2001 A Space Odyssey,' but returned to the Rambert School in 1969. That same year he became a member of the London Ballet Company. In 1970 he married and started work for the Pergamon Press. The next year he worked for the Evening Standard. In 1975 he divorced his wife with whom he has two daughters. For a while he worked for a film company again (Scimitar Films), but he decided to resign and to devote more time to writing plays and novels. In the meantime he worked as a part-time taxi driver. David Hines lives in London and in Italy.
One of his first works is Bondage, a prize-winning monologue which deals with one night in the life of a prostitute. It was made into a film by Ken Russel under the title Whore.
In 1994 he published Unattended Baggage, a play for the theatre and for television about two brothers, who become separated when their parents divorce. After twenty years they meet again at the funeral of their mother. While waiting, they look back, talk and fight.
In 1997 he published A Leap into Madness, a monologue with music and dance about Vaslav Nijinsky's struggle against madness.
These are a few samples of the mostly theatrical work he has written.
Indicate the authorís place in literary history.
He didnít write so many books but instead of that he wrote much more plays. And later he began his career with as an author.
Is the book typical for the authorís oeuvre? Explain.
Yes, because he has more novels written. And this book seems to be a novel too.
4 READING EXPERIENCE
What was your general feeling while reading this book?
Reading this book was very different than I read other books. It was hard to understand what the story is about. The story makes also big time jumps, that is makes it difficult to read the book. Some parts I didnít understand and why his mother does such things.
Which part of the book impressed you most? Explain &illustrate.
The part when he makes a jump over the balcony the second time, because then Iíve had questions in my mind like: íWhat would happen next.??í But unfortunately there the story ends. And my questions will remain unanswered.
What aspect of the book do you feel is least successful? Explain.
In the story all the names are mentioned except that one of David and his grandparents. Because always want to know every name of peoples in the story. In the story the writer forgets too write something about the father of David. Who is the father and why donít they talk about it in the story???
Would you read more books by this author? Why/not?
No I think Iím not going to read more books of this author, because I donít like books with an I-perspective in it. And I donít like stories that could happen in the reality. Give me just fantasy and Iíll read it.
Would you advice others to read this book as well? Explain.
I advice people to not read this book if you donít like books with an I-perspective in it. Because this book is quit boring and the main character is also boring, because he says nothing much what he thinks about people and he let his mother do what she wants.