Carry Me Down by M.J Hyland

Carry Me DownCarry Me Down by M.J. Hyland
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Set in Ireland, a view of a fracturing family told from the young son’s point of view – it sounds done before. There are many books attempting to ride through adult fiction by placing us into the minds of children. This one is one of the better offerings, riding a good line between realistic children’s thought patterns, while also making insightful commentary.
The part that threw me off was the odd semi-sexual awkwardness between the mother and child. Our young male protagonist is twelve, so on the cusp of many developmental jumps. There is a lot of talk about his size and being mistaken for being much older – however, there doesn’t seem to be a purpose to this at all. The other half of that is that if he read as a fourteen year old more than a twelve year old, it would make more sense. So, there are instances between him and his mother that feel off, her responses are off, and his feelings are off. They don’t gel for me, and that made it uncomfortable sometimes. Which may have been the point, but if it was then I missed why it was important.
I liked being on the edge of his mind – was he always going to end up making the decision he did with his mother, or were there moments where we went along with him not realising the crazy there?
It was enjoyable, and it was interesting, and the gender roles of the time were explored well. I felt the boy had a pretty rough time, but I also felt that what he chose to do came out of nowhere, and it didn’t feel real to me compared to the rest of the story. Due to this, whatever poignant point this story was trying to make, I didn’t quite put it together.
The blurb told me this book was a ‘psycological thriller’, I found it lacking that entire element. If it was meant to be a snapshot of a family going through a rough time at that period from the eyes of a boy coming of age – I’m all in, it was great. The other part didn’t fit for me, mainly because I don’t think a twelve year old outcast wanting to believe he has amazing powers is strange. A fourteen year old, yes – but twelve, not really.
I liked it, but wouldn’t read it again.

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