Half a Man by Michael Morpurgo

half a man

A wonderful way to spend fifteen minutes is to read Michael Morpurgo’s Half a Man. Rarely does one encounter a book which so unerringly blurs the line between children’s and adult fiction and that Morpurgo achieves all of this power and depth by condensing into such a small little book is really quite an achievement. I picked the book up whilst shelving on a dreary Wednesday morning. I had never read any of Morpurgo’s work before and felt obliged to give him a chance, given that he is undoubtedly one of the most popular and prolific authors in the children’s library. The novel features a small boy whose grandfather suffered terrible superficial wounds during WW2. Each time his grandfather comes to visit, his parents warn him not to stare at his grandfather, not to make lud noises, no to ask him anything and not to disturb him in any way. The relationship that develops between the two over the course of the novel is truly heart-warming and bears lessons for adult and child alike. I have to say, it’s a perfect little book; the curious child narrator, the parents stifled into emotional inertia by convention and, looming over all and sundry, the solemn and frightening figure of the wounded grandfather. I only preach one note of caution. I couldn’t believe it was a children’s book as it was so good but also some of the themes are quite mature. The book is apparently suitable for kids aged 9+ but have a read of it yourself and decide before you regale the nipper. It’s fifteen minutes well spent in any case.


You can reserve a copy online at South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here.

5 thoughts on “Half a Man by Michael Morpurgo

  1. Pingback: Books of the Year (Part 2) | Ballyroan Reads

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