O Estranhão (2014)



A fictional book is coming right up to this blog – one that is targeted to young people, but whose reading could be also appreciated by teenagers, adults, etc…

In this case, the book I’m going to give an opinion from is “O Estranhão” (“The bashful one”), written by Álvaro Magalhães, illustrated by Carlos J. Campos and published by Porto Editora in 2014 

General plot: The main character is a 11 year old name Frederico Sá – Fred, o Estranhão to his family and friends – a bashful kid with a bigger than average IQ and whose biggest challenge is to live a normal life without so many obstacles to overcome in his own life

He’s likewise the narrator of his own story, all divided into several chapters besides the introduction (which he even describes how he was born):

– the fantasy story about “the clam boy” that was done by Fred during one of those bad days (he even wrote a happy ending to please the girls)

– his own alienated state of mind, starting with meditation and ending with her mother… joking about his birth (just after Fred tells her he had a crazy dream about being an alien during his meditation time)

– the supposed “love story” between his father and his father’s beloved car. At one moment, the car has some complications and Fred almost misses his classes

– the dislike for physical education and other problems such as bullying attempts from students bigger than him or a imaginative situation in the school library as he reads a book about a horrendous creature

– the “well-educated people club” in which the difference between a good-hearted and well-educated person like Fred and most of the students’ indifference to good manners is so blatant. So blatant that he decided to create a billboard in the cafeteria listing the options and the money those options cost – without much sucess in the end

– his passion for football (“soccer” in countries like USA and Japan), eventhough he’s not really good at it (comparsions between a boy and a girl’s mind are also on the focus. He even brings out the fact his father would like to see him becoming a famous footballer, just like portuguese footballer Cristiano Ronaldo – but still, as a bright boy, he always had some ideas and they are formulated into “out-of-this-world”‘s tactics)

– the two inventions for the 21st century that he created on his mind: light slippers (using a pair of slippers and a lantern) and spoon slippers (the lantern is replaced, therefore, by a spoon – it had the function of destroying insects)

– the “Fred va cockroach” case: the first part of the chapter concerns the nightmare he had with a giant cockroach, while in the final one, he saves a cockroach’s life as his older sister was ready to kill it

– the “symphony of love”, described by Fred as a web of events leading to love – even mentioning the fact his only good friend, Alex, is already dating

– and the final chapter of the book, “Me, she and the Moon”: as he was outside of a sporting goods store (on the previous chapter, he affirmed he was there as her mother wanted to buy some clothes on the shop), he saw Ana, Alex‘s sister, appearing in front of him. During the conversation, it was apparent Ana wanted something more than just talking: she wanted to actually kiss him… something that she did, despite Fred‘s shy reluctance (he wasn’t really into love). This translated into the fact they somehow became a love couple… eventhough that also became an odd one as Ana is the total opposite of Fred: demanding and a bit bossy for his own good

My opinion: Sheer genius of the year – and it all goes by only two words: thoughtful surrealism. For a juvenile book, this has a lot of cleverness in its story… and also a lot of oddness at the same time by the way it has been folded. Not to mention the wonderful set of characters (Fred, the main character, is really unforgettable… and, at times, relatable), as well as having some brightly made illustrations throughout the book (NOTE: the book a mix of narrative book story telling and black and white illustrations)

All in all, I’d reccomend this to all readers who like some mature and intelligent story complemented with good humour inside of a book targeted at young people…

Thank you,

LAboy 456
(Rui Craveiro)


Posted on 7 de October de 2014, in Books. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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