Title: Written in Black
Author: K.H. Lim
Genre: Literary Fiction
Number of Pages: 240
Man, this book was disappointing. It starts out with an intriguing child protagonist and a promising storyline but it all kind of falls apart in the end. Jonathan is a ten-year-old boy living on the island of Brunei who lives with a very dysfunctional family, most of whom are selfish and petty. Jonathan’s mom seems to have essentially abandoned him and is going off to Australia to ‘find herself,’ but she doesn’t bother to consistently keep in touch with Jonathan and he’s desperate to talk to her.
When he finds out that his disgraced older brother is in contact with his mom, Jonathan bails out of his grandfather’s funeral and hitches a ride on a hearse. He runs into a series of obstacles and idiosyncratic characters on his journey, with his family at his uncle and aunt’s house not overly concerned about his absence.
There was a little too much focus on bodily functions in this book, and a ton of fat-shaming. Jonathan’s aunt and cousin were obese and Jonathan was constantly mocking and belittling them for their size. The thing about this book that really didn’t make it work was the ending. Nothing got resolved and I didn’t get the sense that Jonathan’s character changed or learned anything from his experiences. It made me feel tricked because nothing came of any of the decisions Jonathan made throughout the book, as well as a real WTF way to end the story.