Monday, 30 May 2011

Review: An Act of Love - Alan Gibbons

Title: An Act of Love
Author: Alan Gibbons
Format: paperback
Pages: 224
Genre: Young Adult, War
Published: 2nd June 2011 (Orion Childrens)

Childhood friends Chris and Imran celebrate the Millenium as inseparable blood brothers, they are both seven years old. But by 2011 their lives have taken very different paths. One has joined the Army and served in Afghanistan, the other is a potential jihad recruit. They are no longer friends, and there are bitter wounds between them which remain unhealed. Will their childhood bond be strong enough to overcome an extremist plot? In a highly-charged, honest and life affirming story, told in flashback from both Chris and Imran's viewpoint, Alan Gibbon's cleverly explores the very real issue of terrorism that affects everyone today.

At seven-years-old Chris and Imran are best friends. The story follows them as they grow up and apart from each other. As children they had so much in common but they end up with dramatically different lives.

The book deals with the difficult issue of terrorism which is dealt with in an accessible way by viewing historical moments such as the Bradford Riots, 9/11 and the 7/7 bombings through the eyes of two young boys who at first don't understand the importance of what is happening around them but soon find out just how these much impact these events have.

Throughout the story we get to know the two boys through their different feelings and emotions regarding their friendship as well as racism and terrorism. At times the book is not easy to read - in terms of subject matter, the writing is outstanding - and it makes you question your opinions of the whole issue.

An Act of Love is a great way for young people to learn more about the war on terrorism, particularly on how it affects individuals, and it would no doubt prompt discussion about this as well.

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