Monday, April 14, 2014

Looking For Daddy by Patty Jansen - AWWC 2014 (part of the A-Z Blog Challenge)

I saw the description of Looking for Daddy on Patty Jansen's website and couldn't resist the premise. Well, could you? Tom and his mother have been left alone taking care of their family farm for the last three weeks ever since Daddy and the other volunteer fire fighters left to fight the fires in the city. But these weren't any ordinary fires. Their purple smoke seems to have killed the trees and both the farm and the rest of the town have had no contact with the outside world since the smoke subsided. Then there are the reports of weird things happening. Inanimate objects are coming to life and behaving in frightening ways - like the hammer that smashed up a workshop, roads bubbling and demanding payment of tolls and nothing seems safe any more. When Tom befriends a strange creature and finds a crude map he realises he has to find his father in the city before anything else goes wrong and so begins a perilous journey.

I loved this novella. Patty Jansen says it's the strangest thing she has written. It is certainly very different from her other work (which I also love) but it gripped me. The implications of the upheavals are wide ranging, reaching beyond Tom's journey and into the community. Those left behind and isolated are inevitably deeply affected and order begins to break down as the strange happenings escalate, becoming more and more threatening. Bizarre as they are, I had no difficulty in accepting them and I was engrossed as Tom and his strange companion made their way to the city.

Despite the youth of Tom, the protagonist in Looking For Daddy, this is not a children's story. There are some very dark moments and I'd agree with the author that it's really not suitable for those under fifteen.

Looking For Daddy is available as a paperback and and e-book and the author's website gives links to where you can buy it.

Patty Jansen is a writer based in Sydney, Australia. She is a writer of adult, YA and middle grade children's fiction. She blogs at Must Use Bigger Elephants and is on Facebook.

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