We don't offer recommends with boy protagonists, but there should always be an exception, right? About a Boy entries will be for exceptional books that cross our path that we want to share. Boy on the Edge by Fridrik Erlings is my first entry.
I thought it would be compelling to read an Icelandic author. Don't you think? And it was. The Home of Lesser Brethren is perched in a lava field on the edge of the sea, and Henry is sent to reside there to live with other young boys, the reverend, and his wife. With a stutter and clubfoot, Henry makes his home in the cowshed, tends to the livestock, befriends the bull, and finds hope in a dark, barren place.
While the setting is new and fresh, the truths of the individuals resonate. Maybe that's a slight difference between our writing and this work from Iceland. The themes aren't buried quite so deeply. The reverend says, "And that is my biggest failure, I guess. Believing that absolute control would make everything all right." Even the flap copy notes, "This story is meant to show that there is always hope, even though its existence may sometimes be denied." So themes are closer to the surface, without giving the feeling the reader is being preached to.
I recommend this peek into Iceland, and getting to know Henry, who will haunt your soul. Read, reflect, and reach out, rgz! Read about a boy.
Boy on the Edge
by Fridrik Erlings
Candlewick Press, 2014