introduction etc (was DWJ in Israeli newspaper)

Macrae-Gibson,R R.Macrae-Gibson at
Wed Feb 18 14:13:35 EST 2004

I think the supreme example of Awful Boyfriend is from the Time of the Ghost (Julian? My brain's gone now). We don't see all that much of him, so he's not as fleshed out as Seb, but his actions are pivotal to the whole book (Not least because he causes the accident!)
Seb does at least have reasons for being Awful*, and Polly does acknowledge 'he was always on her side in a way'

*Mother's life stolen for Lauren
*Fear that his life would be used instead of Tom's for Mr Leroy
*Quite possible that any future children & his wife (Polly) would also be killed


-----Original Message-----
From: Ika [mailto:blake at]
Sent: 18 February 2004 18:57
To: dwj at
Subject: Re: introduction etc (was DWJ in Israeli newspaper)

Hallie (hello, Hallie) added to my list (hmm - do two examples constitute
a list?) of favourite DWJ Types:

> You forgot the Awful Boyfriend - verified as spot-on by a few of us!

Eep! Examples, please - I'm drawing a blank, apart from Seb in F&H...
That's sort of scary. Ooh. My brain just skittered off to Tacroy, who I
hadn't considered before but who is an early example of The DWJ Splendid
Selfish Boy, though probably quite a good boyfriend.

Sorry. My mind is like a flock of birds today. Thanks for reminding me of
Nick's "boil" analogy, which is *exactly right* and reminded me of (or
gave me an excuse for posting about) the line that I use to explain DWJ to
those who know not thereof, which is from the Dark Lord of Derkholm, and
concerns elves:

"They were all nearly seven feet tall. Derk found them a bit much."

I can think of whole *novels* on the exquisiteness of elves that can be
boiled down to those two sentences. Oblique, spot-on, and not lingered
over or show-offy.

Love, Ika

PS: re Cynthia Voigt & the Tillerman books:

> and aside
> from the inadequate or abusive parents, there's Maybeth as well.  She
> breaks my heart every time, and I'm convinced (on no evidence mind),
> that Voigt based  her on a student she encountered while teaching.

I hadn't thought that before, but it's instantly convincing - and it would
mean I could add the Tillerman saga to Anne Fine's _How To Write Really
Badly_ as books which put school in a wider context and demonstrate that
children who fail there can have worth outside and after school, which is
so important - and particularly nice from a teacher or ex-teacher, who can
be* too prone to assume the student's life revolves around what goes on in
the classroom.

*by which I mean I can be. No aspersions cast on persons living or dead etc.

"There are some bad people on the rise" - Moz
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