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Mermaid Park by Beth Mayall

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Divine Ryans by Wayne Johnston

Genre: Humour and Mystery
Pages: 215

"It became a kind of routine for me, standing at the window watching the empty house across the way grow dark. Twice in the next couple of weeks, my father appeared in the kitchen exactly as before." ~Draper Doyle


Young and naive Draper Doyle grows up in St. John's Newfoundland. He hates choir, boxing practice and the visits to the Ryan family funeral parlour. But, Draper doesn't despise everything, one of the things he loves and cherishes most as a Montreal Candadien fan is hockey. Throughout the story Draper struggles with moving into a new home, trying out for hockey, puberty and finding someone he feels comfortable talking to as he overcomes the death of his beloved father. Draper Doyle sees his father's ghost, or is it just his imagination? And finally, he is able to unravel the dark secrets hidden deep within his family.

Why Read It?

I think people should read this book because it's rather interesting how naive Draper Doyle overcomes all of his problems. It's actually rather humorous too and I think girls would get a good laugh out of it. It's a great book for guys too, but I don't think that they'd find funny what I found funny. The characters and plot are quite odd and twisted, but that's pretty much what makes it so great.

My Thoughts

The Divine Ryans caught my interest in a book talk my school librarian had given to my English class this year. She’s actually the one who got me started on this blog! Which I am grateful for! When I picked up the book and first began to read it I became engaged into the story almost immediately. Because Draper Doyle was going through such a difficult time in his life dealing with his father’s death the story atmosphere was rather depressing. However, Draper Doyle’s naivety to puberty made me laugh. I found it quite unusual to put something like that in a book. I also pitied him though. Because of his father’s death, Draper doesn’t have anyone to confide in, at least no one he is entirely comfortable with.

The family runs a funeral home and the story revolves a lot around death and some or most people aren’t so secure with the subject, I being one of them, found it quite difficult to spend too long with the book. Since I was reading it for school I didn’t want to put it down and also I wanted to see how it ended and how Draper Doyle would overcome his depression. But if you’re not someone likes this kind of humorous depressed atmosphere maybe this book isn’t something you’d want to be reading.

I do believe it is a mature read. Because it does talk about “it” (sex) a lot. The plot is slow, and there isn’t much happening here and there. However, I would become alert and stiffen when it talked of scenes of Draper seeing his father’s ghost. That was interesting. But I’d hate to ruin the rest of the book by saying much else, except for the ending is rather twisted. It’s a very interesting story and I think it points out a lot about how kids don’t really feel comfortable talking to their parents, or just don’t have anyone to talk to. I found it hard to connect with Draper and his story because I have never had a person so close to me pass away and I’ve always had someone to talk to and actually so many people that I am able to talk to it’s almost overwhelming!

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