There’s an empty notebook lying on the table in the moonlight. It’s been there for an age. I keep on saying that I’ll write a journal. So I’ll start right here, right now. I open the book and write the very first words: My name is Mina and I love the night. Then what shall I write? I can’t just write that this happened then this happened then this happened to boring infinitum. I’ll let my journal grow just like the mind does, just like a tree or a beast does, just like life does. Why should a book tell a tale in a dull straight line?
And so Mina writes and writes in her journal, and through her stories and poems there grows an opus of her life – her lessons, her loves, her beliefs, her mum, her dad, her thoughts and her dreams.
In this stunningly designed book, David Almond revisits Mina before she has met Michael, before she has met Skellig, in what is a thought-provoking and extraordinary prequel to his best-selling debut novel, Skellig.
Mum : And one day soon, of course, you’ll even start thinking about boys.
Mina : Thinking about what?
Mum : About boys.
Mina : No I bloody well won’t!
My Name Is Mina is the prequel to Skellig. Honestly, this can be read as a standalone, however, you wouldn’t want to not read Skellig because this book is the key to understanding the mystery of Skellig.
Mina likes to write in her journal. She loves to do this while up in the tree in their yard. She’s got a wild imagination and her dreams are pretty vivid. She’s not your typical kid, and she doesn’t do well with conventional schooling. Due to an incident at school, her mother decided that homeschooling would be best for her.
What would you do if you have wandering mind who wonders a lot? Honestly, in most cases, I am like Mina. If I talked about what I write down on my journals, I would probably be locked up in an asylum by now. But I am not saying that Mina is crazy, or that I am crazy — it’s just some of our thoughts are outrageous and close to insane. The book was basically a window to how her mind works.
Thoughts about swearing. Yes, I know that swearing is very bad, and that swearwords are very very bad bad things. But there are times when nothing else will work – otherwise why have swearwords at all? And I know that you are not supposed to say this, but there are times when swearwords just sound very nice and feel nice on your tongue and are simply very nice to say.
The first half of the book may seem boring at times, but I couldn’t make myself stop reading. At some point, I asked myself, What is the point of this book? – but by understanding Mina, I was able to appreciate her while I was reading Skellig. All the things that happened in this book was before she met Michael, the protagonist in Skellig.
I adore the relationship of Mina with her Mum. You will love her mother and her skills in parenting. She has a deep understanding of her daughter and chose the best options for her. She didn’t force Mina into a mold, instead she allowed her to flourish.
“…then walking is like drawing.”
I smile at the loveliness of that. I imagine our feet leaving a drawing behind us. I swerve and skip to add curves and interest to our drawing.
David Almond is an amazing writer, however good his prose are in this book, it didn’t wow me so much, but it allowed me to continue reading the book until the end.
How can a bird that was born for joy could sit in a cage and sing?
Read from December 18 to 22, 2013
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