Saturday, March 5, 2011

Nicholas Dane by Melvin Burgess

Summary Provided by Goodreads:
When Nick's mother dies suddenly, the 14 year old is sent straight into a boys' home, where he finds institutional intimidation and violence keep order. After a number of fights and brutal punishments, Nick thinks life can't get any worse…until he realizes that the home’s respected deputy head, Mr. Creal, who has been grooming him with sweets and solace, has something much more sinister in mind.

My Thoughts:
Nicholas Dane is a modern retelling of Oliver Twist. Fourteen year old, Nick, after his mother dies of a heroin overdoes (a problem Nick wasn’t even aware she had) is sent to Meadow Hill, the worst place a young boy could be sent to. While there, Nick is beaten, whipped and tortured. Tony Creal, head of Meadow Hill promises to help Nick get out there (Unbeknownst to Nick, him mom’s best friend as well as a long lost great Uncle are willing to help him), while secretly making sure that no one can help this “troubled and disturbed boy” as he calls him to Nick’s family. One night, Mr. Creal gives Nick a hand job. Nick is so surprised that he doesn’t do anything about it until it is over, and anger overpowers him. As punishment, Creal, as well as two other men brutally rape him, forever changing Nick.

Nicholas Dane, is a heartbreaking story. I stopped counting how many times I had to put the book down to compose myself. This book is so sad and tragic. It wasn’t just Nick either, all of the boys in this story deeply affected me, especially Oliver. Oliver is a few years younger then Nick and has been at Meadow Hill for a number of years already. He has been raped over and over again, first by his mothers boyfriend at age three, then by wardens and janitors in other group homes he was in, and finally by Creal and Creal’s friends. Oliver knows nothing but pain and links pain with affection. His story broke my heart even more then Nick’s.

This book was good, but some of the story dragged on for me. I would only recommend it if you understand what you are getting yourself into. This book will make you cry, over and over again.

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