Book Review

I'm Not Scared by Niccolo Ammaniti

I'm Not Scared by Niccolo Ammaniti

A bestseller throughout Europe, and soon to be released as a film, Niccolo Ammaniti's impressive I'm Not Scared is a gripping piece. Michele Amitrano is nine-years old and lives in the tiny hamlet Acqua Traverse: "Two houses on one side, two on the other. And a road, rough and full of holes, in the middle." With five other kids, including his sister Maria and Antonio Natale ("Skull was the oldest in the gang. Twelve years old. And he was the chief.") they explore the local countryside in the overwhelming summer heat. One day a dare leads Michele to a disturbing discovery, a secret he knows he must keep and which seems to involve all the village's adults, as well as the old man, Sergio Materia, who has mysteriously come to live his family. Ammaniti builds the pressure well, the writing is unfussy (the translation, by Jonathan Hunt, never wobbles) and the plot is satisfyingly oblique: the story is told from Michele's viewpoint and the exact whys and wherefores are never fully explained. Michele's "loss of innocence" is made more poignant by his fall into an adult world that never lives up to the moral transparency it so hypocritically preaches. Recommended.

-- Reviewed by Mark Thwaite on 18/07/2005

Further Information
ISBN-10: 184195442X
ISBN-13: 9781841954424
Publisher: Canongate International
Publication Date: 26/01/2004
Binding: Paperback
Number of pages: 208
URL: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/search?keywords=9781841954424&index=books&linkCode=qs&tag=marksbookrevi-21

Readers Comments

  1. The book “I’m Not Scared,” was uninteresting, due to the lack of action, relatable characters and a suspenseful plot.
    During the start of the book the storyline wasn’t captivating or intriguing it was in fact very, very slow. Even though the characters were quite close to my age I found it really hard to relate to them as they have very different lives and values than what I have. I found it hard to relate the plot to anything I have experienced or even read before.
    When Michele found Filippo in the hole the plot of the story became predictable and unrealistic. By creating an empathetic character like Filippo we are inclined to feel sorrow towards him, but in this book I didn’t feel that emotion that is needed to make it a good story and it became tedious.
    The whole novel is narrated through the nine year-old Michele's eyes, therefore the language is simple, the sentences short and the paragraphs brief. For me this didn’t create enough depth and emotion the story needed.

    Our teacjer had us read this book for english and when she asked me if i liked it and i told her no she yelled at me wtf rit??

    anyway was just wondering of anyone shared my opinion of the book

  2. I agree to a certain degree. I found the point of view as innovative. Sure it breaks the immersion but imagining this nine year old experiencing these events you can only imagine this is how they would explain it to others. If I were to rate the book out of 10 I would give it a 6. It is slightly above average as I was in the assumption of a large climactic twist or something similar. In all it was above average but way below classic. My applaud to the author for the attempt of something different, something surely needed in today's writing.

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