donderdag 26 mei 2016

John Wyndham: Chocky


Chocky is my third John Wyndham. You can find all my JohnWyndham reviews here.
My copy has 153 pages and a 3-page introduction by Brian Aldiss.
I got it from The Book Depository.

“Matthew's parents are worried. At eleven, he's much too old to have an imaginary friend, yet they find him talking to and arguing with a presence that even he admits is not physically there. This presence - Chocky - causes Matthew to ask difficult questions and say startling things: he speaks of complex mathematics and mocks human progress. Then, when Matthew does something incredible, it seems there is more than the imaginary about Chocky. Which is when others become interested and ask questions of their own: who is Chocky? And what could it want with an eleven-year-old boy?”

From the very beginning I expected ‘what’ Chocky exactly is. It might have been different at the time it was written but as a reader in 2016 the mystery wasn’t really a mystery. Actually, I had hoped for a very different, rather more violent ending.
But Chocky is a very interesting character. Her questions as an outsider about our planet and the way we run things had me thinking too.

The plot went nowhere. No suspense or climax. And the exposition dump at the end didn’t work for me either.

The ending of the book took me by surprise because it’s a happy one.
As I said before, this is my third John Wyndham and I didn’t think a happy end was part of his repertoire. It fits the story very well; it just surprised me. It’s a rather optimistic story too.

Matthew really got to me. He is such a sweet tempered, smart boy and I really cared for him.
The father is a complete disaster though. He is a good father for Matthew. Not so for his daughter. And he isn’t a very nice husband either. His views on women are wrong, coldhearted, idiotic and shortsighted. The mother (and all other women in this story) is rather stupid, dull and insipid. Men, according to Wyndham are smart, reasonable and even-tempered. Or so he wants us to believe.
Both father and mother have strange reactions to what happens to their family. Who in their right mind would send their child to school a day after he has been kidnapped for over a week?

Chocky isn’t a bad book. I just didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would because it is rather boring and the characters are a bit flat too.
But it is also short, insightful, optimistic and sweet.


Happy reading.