Top positive review
4 January 2016
Even though I'd bought it a while ago, I did not read Sofie Laguna’s The Eye of the Sheep immediately, despite the glowing reviews, as I assumed it was a book that wouldn’t appeal. It had no suspenseful revealing of dark secrets, no romance, no psychopaths and no mind-twisting whodunnits. I was so wrong because what it has can not be categorised into a genre or a cheesy label, it is in fact a thing of beauty. It is so much more than a beautifully told story about a boy, it's like a piece of music you get swept up in the art. I cried a lot and I suspect some of those tears were as much about the beauty of the words as what was magically unfolding through the story.
This is a beautifully told story of Jimmy Flick, a little boy with behavioural problems, and his dysfunctional family. Jimmy's behaviour suggests he is on the autistic spectrum. He has trouble slowing down and races around until he is out of control. He never stops talking, repeating phrases and questions over - he's quite the handful and only his mother can really handle and calm him. When he can't sleep at night his Mum helps him count sheep and he imagines staring into the eye of the sheep and finding calmness. Jimmy's teenage brother Robby loves him too and takes him out to play games, however Jimmy's Dad has difficulty coping. The family is poor and life is tough, his father has a menial job at a local factory and himself comes from a dysfunctional family. He has difficulty expressing his emotions and is prone to bouts of listening to songs and drinking whiskey and then beating his wife. This is quite challenging to read, but sadly too uncommon. Eventually, events take a tragic turn for Jimmy who has little understanding of what is happening around him.
This book touches on many topics, domestic abuse and family dysfunction, autism, and a mother's love for her children but all told from Jimmy's perspective. There are no bells and whistles simply added for effect, this sad and beautiful story felt very real. It's completely understood why The Eye of the Sheep won the Miles Franklin Literary Award – Australia’s top fiction prize, as the gift of this type of storytelling is rare. I wish I'd read it sooner. It's unforgettable. 5 stars doesn't seem adequate Amazon should have another colour or symbol for the uber great. Unforgettable