AUTHOR = DIANNE TOUCHELL
GENRE = DYSFUNCTIONAL FAMILIES, RELATIONSHIPS, MENTAL HEALTH
INTEREST LEVEL = YEARS 11, 12
An intriguing choice as a shortlisted book for the 2012 CBCA Book of the Year (OR)
This book is aptly named as one of the narrator’s, a teenage boy, truly does seem to be a bit creepy, especially when we realise that he watches his neighbour, “Maud”, through binoculars. There may be valid reasons for his creepiness: his parents are painted in a most unattractive light and seem to be at war with each other… is it any wonder that their teenage son remains aloof from normal relationships at school. His attitude to Maud is tricky too – through his binocular watching, he learns that her father hits her and that she is self-harming (by pulling out her hair). Yet it takes a long time for him to actively support this very troubled girl.
Some chapters in the novel are told from Maud’s point of view and she does appear to appreciate Creepy as a real friend, which perhaps makes him a more likable character than he may appear from his own words. Poor Maud comes from an equally troubled family and counselling does not appear to be helping.
This novel is unlikely to appeal to all readers, dealing as it does with dysfunctional families and mental health issues: some may find the black humour quite funny whereas others may simply find the tone rather bleak and cool. Either way, it is certainly thought-provoking and may well stay with the reader long after the last page has been read.