Warning: Sofie Laguna writes books that will totally break your heart. The Eye of the Sheep nearly destroyed me, so I expected a tough ride from The Choke. Justine is a young girl being raised in poverty by her grandfather, waiting for her father to return from somewhere. Her world is full of confusing relationships, stories that she is never told and things that she cannot understand. As the books is told from her perspective, we know things that she can’t express t those around her. We know her pain and confusion and isolation. It’s devastating and yet Sofie makes it totally beautiful. This is an amazing book.
This is a tough book; not tough to read, because it is from the perspective of a young boy with some form of autism as he tries to make sense of the world. What is tough is that young Jimmy’s world includes an ill mother, a drunk and violent father, an angry brother and a lack of clear understanding of his place in this world.
I loved it. It’s beautiful in its descriptions of Jimmy’s world and that around him. It is the first book I’ve read that gives an account of autism that gives a real sense of what may be happening in the mind of a child. The lack of understanding of what other people are going through, the need to be “both too fast and too slow”. It’s so beautifully done, and so deeply heartbreaking. Oh, Jimmy.
The Eye of the Sheep was the 2015 Winner of the Miles Franklin Award.