Six-year-old Jimmy Flick is the narrator in Sophie Laguna’s award-winning The eye of the sheep. Jimmy is not like other children his age. He can be too fast and too slow. He can see and feel much more than other kids, and yet, can see too little. More often than not, Jimmy’s cells are spinning and no one other than his mum Paula, can manage him. Paula tries to keep Jimmy out of his father’s way. But even Jimmy knows that when his father reaches for his bottle of Cutty Sark, the evenings don’t end well. When he can’t sleep at night, his mother teaches him to count sheep. His other refuge at night is his older brother Robby. Jimmy’s life of chaos, violence and poverty takes a turn for the worse when tragedy strikes and he is left on his own to figure out his way in this world.
Laguna won the Miles Franklin award in 2015 for this book and rightly so. The voice of the narrator, Jimmy, is bound to capture you from the start. She gets it perfectly and offers incredible insight into the life of this little boy and how he sees the world. In a great example of showing and not telling, she manages to convey to the readers about Jimmy’s possible syndrome. You learn that he could potentially be autistic but nowhere in the story is the term ever used. He likes spinning around, likes to repeat things, is not good with change or strangers, struggles with his school and finds reading manuals for appliances calming. She also conveys family violence and generational trauma without necessarily being too graphic about it. After all, it is what Jimmy witnesses.
The themes of poverty, violence, trauma and family connections are explored in a sensitive and empathic manner. The writing is beautiful and the characters are engaging. Of course, Jimmy steals the show and you can’t help but root for him and hope things turn out well. It is heartbreaking and endearing all at once. If you haven’t yet read it, make sure you get a copy soon!
***This book was read and reviewed for the Aussie Author Challenge hosted by Jo and the Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge hosted by Corinne. Also linking with Alicia for Open Slather and Kirsty for I must confess***
Until next time,