Boy Swallows Universe by Trent Dalton – Book Review

Eli is a kid who is living in the Brisbane suburbs in the early eighties with his mother and stepfather who are sellers and sometimes users of heroin and his older brother who doesn’t speak. Eli wants a safe place and he wants to make his world right.

I was recommended this book by several people who absolutely loved it and it certainly seems that it is a book that has grabbed a lot of people. There was a lot that I enjoyed about it. It’s complex, and seeds that are planted early come to fruition later.  Dalton allows the story to reveal itself, and throughout there are moments where I found I had to go back and re-read a page or two because something which seemed small and insignificant was actually a really big reveal. I can totally see why people love it, and I really can’t explain why I didn’t. I’m glad I read it, and many of the characters will stay with me, but I didn’t love it. Oh, I just read a couple of articles about it, and apparently, it’s based in Dalton’s childhood with characters very much based on reality and my heart has broken for him. I wonder if knowing that before would have changed my reading experience.

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