[Book Review] The Terrible Thing That Happened to Barnaby Brocket

There’s nothing unusual about the Brockets. Normal, respectable, and proud of it, they turn up their noses at anyone strange or different. But from the moment Barnaby Brocket comes into the world, it’s clear he’s anything but ordinary. To his parents’ horror, Barnaby defies the laws of gravity – and floats.

Desperate to please his parents, Barnaby does his best to keep both feet on the ground – but he just can’t do it. One fateful day, the Brockets decide enough is enough. They never asked for a weird, abnormal, floating child. Barnaby has to go…

Betrayed, frightened and alone, Barnaby floats into the path of a very special hot air balloon – and so begins a magical journey around the world, with a cast of extraordinary new friends.

(The above synopsis was extracted from Goodreads)


My Review

This is a delightful tale about standing out from the crowd (especially since the protagonist is a boy who floats) and the journey towards home and normalcy.

Barnaby Brocket, the boy who floats, doesn’t think he’s strange but every adult around him does. With his special ‘ability’ he unwittingly embarks on an adventure and meets all sorts of people and characters, on a journey which takes him around the world (and even out of it).

The book is peppered with rich insights into human characters and lessons on friendship and family. The easy way that John Boyne tackles these topics are admirable; though treating the subjects lightly from a boy’s point of view, they are serious food-for-thought especially the themes of wanting to be normal, fitting in / having a sense of belonging and accepting oneself which touches you deeply in this easy-to-read and humourous story.

I’m impressed by the way John Boyne writes. This is my first book by him, and I’m looking forward to reading a few more.

Publication date: August 2012
Publisher: Doubleday Childrens (Hardcover)
Author: John Boyne
Genre: Fiction, Childrens, Fantasy
Pages: 278 pages


One thought on “[Book Review] The Terrible Thing That Happened to Barnaby Brocket

  1. I didn’t read this, AJ, though my daughter did, and she told me all about Barnaby Brocket’s sad story, and how his mother cut his cord and let him float away. How very sad! She also enjoyed Noah Barleywater Runs Away, so you might try that next!

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