The Wrong Child

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 02 Nov 2017

Member Reviews

Thanks to netgalley for the opportunity to have read this harrowing, scary read.
I think all of us have felt survivor's guilt sometimes in our lives, in one way or another.  Imagine being the only one left of your class, why did you survive, why didn't you die as well.
Quite a dark but thrilling read. Recommended.
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the wrong child by Barry Gornell. 
A tragedy in a small town.
Everyone is affected.
Most people believe  one child is to blame for what happened. 
But could one little boy really be responsible?
And what lengths will his parents go to protect him? 
a fantastic read. loved the story I was engrossed from start to finish  5*.
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I started reading this book a couple of times and couldn't stick with it as it's very dark. The third time however I persevered and gradually got into the feel and flow of the writing. It's still very dark, a child that no one likes, not even his parents, a claustrophobic village and a story that's told in very clever flash backs that lead the reader's emotions about 'Dog' Evans to swing wildly. If you enjoyed 'We need to talk about Kevin' or Doris Lessing's 'The Fifth Child' they both sprang to mind as I read this. I will definitely investigate the authors other books although I might read something lighter first.
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Oh. My. Gosh.  Oh. My. Flipping. Gosh!  I recently read a book which totally blew me away and surpassed every other read to make it to the number one spot on my ‘books of the year’ list.  Little did I expect at the time that a similar thing would happen, only a month or so later!  The Wrong Child by Barry Gornell is a book I have seen mentioned on only a small number of blogs.  This is a travesty.  More people need to read this exceptional book.  More people need to immerse themselves in the dark and destructive world of Dog Evans and the broken people left behind.

On a fateful snowy day, the roof of the local school collapses killing everyone inside.  Everyone except Douglas ‘Dog’ Evans.  So many young lives snuffed out in the blink of an eye, children ranging in age from 5 to 12.  How would you expect a small town of close-knit neighbours and friends to react to such a disaster? Lots of support, revering the lone survivor?  Certainly not, not when the survivor is Dog Evans.  Dog Evans is The Wrong Child.  Of all the children to survive, why did it have to be him?  Dog becomes the emblem of everything the town has lost, everything that’s missing and the reason why every single day hurts.

The reader meets Dog Evans some seven years later.  No longer is he an adolescent thirteen-year-old but a young man, approaching his twentieth birthday.  Dog has been abandoned by his parents, as a child,  left to fend in every which way for himself.  The sheer guilt of being Dog’s parents has driven them away.  The reader questions the morality of Dog’s parents, Shep and Rebecca as they apparently willingly walk away from their one child.  It’s only as you progress through the story that the author begins to give you snippets of information, glances into the past and expertly begins to build this small town’s painful story.

Each chapter is either set in the present day, seven years after the incident, or the past.  The chapters set in the past focus on each of the children killed that day and the lead up to the tragedy.  What I found incredibly eerie and unsettling was that each chapter is headed by a partially burnt photo of the child the chapter is about.  This is a devastating tale in itself but these photos added so much more emotion for me.  My heart ached for these fictional children.  I was mesmerised.

The town is one hundred percent guilty and to watch these characters deal with that guilt in their differing ways was a riveting experience for me.  The priest, Father Wittin, was a particularly interesting case (I can’t say any more, buy the book to find out what I’m on about!).  A glance into the dark side of human nature…

Would I recommend this book?  Oh my goodness, I will go on about this book for YEARS to come.  It’s hypnotic and so beautifully dark.  I was enchanted and disgusted in equal measure, it’s absolutely everything I want in a book.  I am traumatised but I LOVED it.  I could not put this book down, nor did I want to.  Easily one of my books of the year (one for the books of all time list..?).  I was left heartbroken that it was over.  Absolute literary perfection!

Five out of five stars.

I chose to read and review an ARC of The Wrong Child.  The above review is my own unbiased opinion.
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The Wrong Child is a dark and at times uncomfortable novel which I finished not knowing quite how to feel about it!

The story itself is pretty harrowing – a young boy, Douglas (unaffectionately known as ‘Dog’) Evans, is left as the only survivor after a horrible incident kills all the other children in his class. You might think he'd be cherished even more, as the one survivor, but his unpopularity prior to the event means that the rest of the village do NOT take this well.

The Wrong Child a story of conflicting emotions, or at least for me – at times I felt desperately sorry for Dog, whilst at others I myself felt frustrated by, or disgusted in, his behavior. Nothing can justify the way the villagers behaved though – truly shocking.

The narrative also moves back and forwards in time, showing the reader more and more about what really happened, and I always find myself really drawn to novels like t his. There’s plenty of suspense, and I don’t really want to give anything crucial away so I’ll just say that Barry Gornell manages to create a tense, heavy atmosphere which intrigued me. It’s not an easy or ‘enjoyable’ read as such - and I imagine this would only be amplified more if you had kids yourself (I do not) - but it will stick with you long after you finish it, which is the mark of a great writer!

Many thanks to Orion for providing a copy of this novel on which I chose to write an honest and unbiased review.
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This story starts 6 years after a tragic incident claimed the lives of 21 children, child 22, survived. 

Alone and abandoned by his village, Dog Evans broke my heart. Hated because he survived and was a constant reminder of the lost children this is a story about grief.. everyone's grief.

This was a hard book to read mainly because Dog, even though, now 16 was just a child when the incident took place.  Even his own mother harboured feelings of hate towards him.

It is a good story but I came away with mixed emotions.
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I found this book very dark and quite hard going. The unusualness of it kept my curiosity going so I kept wanting to pick it up and read! The characters struck me as all a bit deranged, like something from a creepy film. I enjoyed the way the book was written, giving insights into how the children were before they died. I thought that was actually the best part of the book.
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The Wrong Child

When a village disaster claims the lives of 21 out of 22 children and the 'wrong' child survives, Dog Evans. Dog deals with survivor guilt for living, is shunned by the village and even his parents abandon him. 

This wasn't an easy read for me and it left me a bit unsettled. Dealing with issues of abandonment, survivor guilt and scapegoating, this dark novel is not an easy read but definitely worth a read! 4 stars from purplebookstand. 

I was lucky to be provided with an advanced copy of this book and voluntarily reviewed it.
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The Wrong Child is a book that challenged me. It is fairly dark and brooding, and looks at the not so  bright side of life. But I found it most illuminating, in its depictions of childhood, friendships and the tightly knit community of a Welsh rural village. It would be wrong to say that I 'enjoyed' reading this book, as it is not that type of book. As I say, it challenged me, it made me think. We read books for many different reasons, and so this book for me really was an exploration into what makes an entire community turn its back on a child.

The book revolves around Dog Evans, past and present, the only survivor out of a group of 22 children, when the local village school was destroyed. For this very reason, even seven years later, Dog is a hated member of the community, because he survived - the wrong child, when his classmates did not. Dog lives his life as best he can nearby the ruined school, a daily reminder of what happened and who he became as a result. He reeks of survivor's guilt and my heart went out to him. Throughout the novel he is still trying to come to turns with what happened, he wants justice and he wants the truth.

The novel deals with the issue of abandonment and grief. The fact that Dog's parents abandoned him due to their own consumed grief. This I found very difficult to read. The fact that a mother could abandon her own child.

This novel asks many questions about what it means to be a mother and the definition of the mother and son bond. What causes an entire community to turn their back on a child? How can a mother becomes hateful toward her own flesh and blood? What is interesting is that although the novel asks many questions, there are many questions still left unanswered as you turn the final page. If you like to read books with neat and tidy endings, then this may not be the right book for you. However, if you like a book that challenges your notions and ideals of morality, and is unsettling, then this book ticks all the right boxes.

The Wrong Child is published by Orion on 2 Nov. It can be found on Amazon here.

With thanks o the publisher and NetGalley for an Advanced Reader Copy.
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This is an odd story following Dog Evans, the survivor of a disaster that claimed the lives of 21 children in his rural village 6 years previously. In all honesty this was really not my type of read and I struggled to see it through.
I had very little empathy with any of the characters who I found unlikeable and morally ambiguous at times.
This is a hard book to review with giving anything away and suggest you give it a go for yourself.
Although not my usual type of read it is written very well and the shifts between past and present are seamless and well handled. 
This novel would possibly appeal to readers of Stephen King.
Thanks to Netgalley and publishers for the advance review copy.
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A terrible accident happens in a small, fairly isolated village. The school building collapses and there is only one survivor. The rest of the children and their teacher are killed. The village mourns for the lost generation. However it also mourns that the surviving child is "Dog" Evans. This tragedy sets in motion a series of events within the village leaving no lives untouched.
This is a very hard book to describe. It is dark but also quite a harsh and unrelentling book. The author shows up the harsh and dark side of human nature with very little let up. The characters make many decisions, not all of which we understand. Some actions are never totally explained - what is the real underlying reason that "Dog's" Mother cannot even bear to look at him? Where does all the money come from? These and other questions are never fully answered leaving the reader to draw their own conclusions as best they can.
This is quite a depressing book as there is very little cheer throughout. The book follows the thread of the present day on the anniversary of the accident & the following days. It also looks back in time, telling the story of the children and their actions on the fateful day that the school collapsed. This is where there is a glimmer of brightness as many of the children are bright and happy, playing in the snow on the way to school. However, even through their stories is the unrelenting darkness of Dog Evans.
Did I enjoy this book? It is hard to say as it was really quite a negative book looking at the very dark side of humanity. I am, however, glad that I read it. The butterfly effect of events or actions is shown throughout. The writing is good with interesting descriptions. Although the characters aren't particularly nice, I did feel that they were quite real and three dimensional. I think I would probably describe this as an "Interesting" read.
I received a free copy of this book via Netgalley.
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Excellent book.  Great main characters and a real page turner.  I loved the plot and would recommend this book.
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This wasn't for me but I can understand other people who like different books really enjoying this.
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Dog Evan,seas a unkind person through and through. He was a cruel child. But I did feel sorry that his parents abandoned him after the accident and the way the whole town blame him . I was surprised at times in this book about the way things turned out and the hate of the whole town . I would recommend this book to everyone .
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