When We Were Romans by Matthew Kneale

When We Were Romans

Matthew Kneale

A flight across country to Rome with Mum to escape being stalked by Dad. This is an account given by nine year old Lawrence in his language and, disconcertingly at first, his spelling. In this credible story where all is not as it at first seems, the empathy I felt both for the boy and his mother grew as the truth gradually emerges. An unusual book; the story is interspersed with snippets of information on space and ancient Romans gleaned from Lawrence’s reading. Written sympathetically and although sad at times, I think this is a positive and worthwhile read.

Extract

So I thought 'that's why shes sad' I thought 'uhoh, that means we'll have to take everything down in the lift again, I wonder where we'll go now?' I thought 'mum will get upset now.' But d'you know she didn't at all, that was a surprise, that was good. Actually she laughed, she just said 'don't you worry, Crissie, we'll be fine.' So I thought 'perhaps everything is getting better, perhaps being here in Rome will make everything all right.'

Parallels
  • The Curious Incident of the Dog In the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
  • Leaning, Leaning Over Water by Frances Itani