Following The Bend In The Road
Michael Morpurgo weaves a wonderful tale beginning in 1982, he then transports the reader back to the occupied south of France during World War II. The reader gets caught up in the war as the peaceful countryside is taken over by the Nazis.
There is the theme of trust. Not all Nazis were evil. They all wore uniforms but underneath some were men and not monsters. “In this uniform, I am Caporal Willi Brenner. Under this uniform, I am Herr Willi Brenner, husband, father and Lehrer.”
The novel revolves around two children in the 1940’s. One has special needs. It sounded like autism to me. He finds trusting hard but his instincts are key. If he likes you, you receive “an open-hearted smile, a smile of complete trust.”
Children (and adults) with special needs may have an affinity with animals. The reader sees an animal whisperer who has patience, love and care. “He puts his hands on them, breathes on them and they get better.”
There is a carousel in the story. This can be seen as a motif for French lives. “What looks broken can always be mended.” Lives disrupted by the Nazis would one day be restored.
In spite of occupation, there is a calmness to the story. I think this is due to the tranquil setting and the personalities that radiate love. In the midst of war, there is an “oasis of peace.”
When all seems hopeless, there is still prayer. “I kept praying… more in hope than in faith.” The day that hope dies is the day that all will seem lost. We must keep hope alive.
I really loved Flamingo Boy. It is a story of love, of friendship, of hope in the midst of adversity and of a beautiful bond with animals. There is a wonderful gentle soul who is not sullied by the world and it is beautiful to witness.
An absolute joy to read.
I received this book for free. A favourable review was not required and all views expressed are my own.