A whimsical, strange, and absurd book this is, about a child with floating abilities. Barnaby was born on a Friday at 12 a.m. and has floated for many years. His parents are in quite a situation: they try sending him to The Graveling Academy for Unwanted Children but it burns down in a massive fire that nearly kills him. They send him to the neighborhood school; strangely, he gets in the newspapers for first being the 10 millionth person to climb the Sydney Harbor Bridge, and subsequently for his quaint floating condition. The two parents agree to get rid of Barnaby, and it is his mother who finally cuts off his sandbags, which normally prevent him from floating, and leaves him to float to his doom. Now the story starts getting interesting: Barnaby is picked up by two women who own a coffee farm in Brazil. The rest of the book is spent detailing Barnaby's attempts to get back home to Sydney. Somehow, things keep happening, thus ruining his chances of getting on the flight to Sydney. This book is so weird that it was funny: the fact that the principal would allow a teacher to take their students to climb a bridge is unbelievable. Additionally, the author's humor was fun to read. However, the book was repetitive, stressing the same simple theme again and again, which, of course, is "be yourself". Many things don't scientifically make sense: for example, it is stated somewhere that Barnaby floated up to a spacecraft–this does not make sense because he would have died before that. Also, it is just frustrating how in that same exact chapter the astronauts keep saying "We are in middle space". There is no such thing as middle space and it means that the author does not know a lot about astronomy. But all in all, THE TERRIBLE THING THAT HAPPENED TO BARNABY BROCKET was one of the better books I've read.
The Terrible Thing That Happened to Barnaby Brocket
By John Boyne
Barnaby Brocket is an ordinary eight-year-old boy in most ways, but he was born different in one important way: he floats. His parents, who have a horror of being noticed, want desperately for Barnaby to be normal, but he can’t help who he is. And when the unthinkable happens, Barnaby finds himself on a journey that takes him all over the world. From Brazil to New York, Canada to Ireland, and even into space, the floating boy meets all sorts of different people—and discovers who he really is along the way.
This whimsical novel will delight middle graders, and make readers of all ages question the meaning of “normal.”
Book Reviews (2)
A boy who was named, Barnaby Brocket, he was 8. He was born different, he has the ability to float in the air, the book says he doesn't obey the laws of gravity. But unfortunately, his parents wants him to be normal. But nothing stopped him and he went on a epic adventure, around the world even to the space.