This Much Huxley Knows, a review by Amy

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This Much Huxley Knows
By Gail Aldwin
217 pages
Black Rose Writing

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An easy, unique read. Huxley, a precocious 7-year-old boy, narrates our story and gives us a birds’ eye view of how he sees the complexities of life around him. We often discount the young as naïve. But sometimes they surprise us with their ability to see clearly without the obstruction stress and responsibility. This is evident of Huxley. While all around him, he is exposed to bullying, bigotry, ableism, and all-around adult stupidity, Huxley manages to keep a clear head while fighting for what is right.

The overall messages of the story are greatly important. Bullying is never ok, whether done by children or adults (maybe most especially when done by adults!). And snap judgments, particularly harsh ones, often prove wrong.

I think it’s particularly difficult to write an entire book from a child’s perspective. As adult readers, we expect a certain degree of depth not yet afforded to the young, even the clever young. While some of Huxley’s musings were age appropriate, I found much of it to be vastly unreasonable. As an elementary teacher and mom, it was difficult to reconcile the character with his age.

While many of the hiccups in this book can be overlooked, I found incredible distaste for the manner in which the disabled character was portrayed. Yes, it does tie in to the messaging. But no, that does not compensate for the way this character was portrayed for 80% of the book. We see this character abused throughout (almost) the entire book by adults and children. Then suddenly and quickly the script is flipped, and the book is ended. The proportion of problem (abuse) to solution was not adequate. And because of this, the messaging suffered.

Maybe if you know this going into the book, you will find greater value in the messaging.

Many thanks to Gail Aldwin for the opportunity to read and review a copy of this book.

Happy reading friends!

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