Sunday, August 13, 2006

Review: The Wrong Hands

How can you possibly put down a book that starts with the following:

"I was going to start with the plane crash because that's how come I met Jennifer. But you need to know about my hands first.
I was born with disaster areas for hands. My fingers had these folds of flesh between them that looked like the inside of an umbrella when it's closed up."

Graham's hand are even bigger by the time he's fourteen and he witnesses a plane crash and meets Jennifer. They rustle and crack when he flexes his fingers. And, when he puts his mind to it, his hands expand and he can fly. This is his big, big secret and the first two times he shares his secret, he's met with disastrous consequences.

Nigel Richardson's The Wrong Hands is a murky, yet fascinating book. Murky because Graham doesn't always fully understand what is happening to him. We only learn the truth when he does. And what happens to Graham is truly horrifying. When witnessed flying in an act of heroism, he is cruelly taken advantage of by the glamorous Jennifer. When he tells his secret to a classmate, he is shipped away from home to live with a self-centered, boorish uncle. No one is in Graham's corner--the secrets have caged him in.

The Wrong Hands is a fascinating read. The narration is masterful and the plot and characters completely original. I hope we'll see more of Graham Sinclair one day.
Hey, and Patrick Anderson has reviewed The Wrong Hands for The Washington Post today (Monday).