A tough and tender tale of survival of five children on a small Scottish island. Written from the perspective of Rona who is eight, it is a page-turning read about survival after the worst happens. Often a difficult read as the children have to face-up to things you wish children would never see or have to be aware of.
Rona has imaginary conversations with her Mum, who she believes will return to save her. Elizabeth, the eldest, draws on the example of her doctor parents, and tries to organize this fragile new family. Alex, the youngest, is diabetic and needs insulin shots. These three, unrelated, live together in a house of their choice. The two brothers Calum Ian and Duncan MacNeil, always on the periphery of the group, still live in their family home and often turn up for school smelling of petrol. They await the return of their fisherman father.
The children’s days are filled with routine, thanks to Elizabeth’s organization and rules. They brush their teeth, they go to school and follow the lessons which Elizabeth directs, they go ‘shopping’ in the derelict houses, marking the front doors either ‘G’ or ‘B’ depending on what they find inside. If there is a bad smell in a house, they put plastic bags on their feet and wear goggles to venture inside. Occasionally they pay their respects at the makeshift grave of the Last Adult. The children show immense courage, ingenuity and humanity in an impossible situation in which each in turn is tested.
Gradually we piece together what may have happened to the rest of the island inhabitants, sifting probable fact from the children’s fears and fantasies. The children seem to be coping, until Alex’s insulin runs out and they must venture further abroad on the island to look for medicine.
Read more about Rob Ewing at his website.
‘The Last of Us’ by Rob Ewing [UK: Borough Press] Buy here
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An island mystery: THE LAST OF US by @robewinguk #books http://wp.me/p5gEM4-21Q via @SandraDanby