“I would like a dictionary though. A dictionary contains all the books ever written, and all the books that will ever be written. That’s something, isn’t it? The words aren’t in the right order, of course, but it’s still something.”
Author: Kevin Brooks Published: 2013 Pages: 259
I read this book on a recommendation, and had no idea what it was about, trusting the judgement of someone who had already read it. When I think of the book, there are a few words that come to mind: unusual, original and chilling. It is difficult for me to confine this story to a genre, but one thing is for sure, I am utterly bewildered as to why this is a children’s novel. The story is from the perspective of Linus Weems, a seemingly ordinary teenager who has experienced the grief of losing his mother and has subsequently run away from home, unable to deal with his father. While he is adjusting to living on the streets, Linus comes to the aid of a blind man who needs help. The next thing he knows, Linus wakes up in a bunker, alone, imprisoned, and confused. As the story progresses more characters are introduced, all from different backgrounds and all with different reactions to their strange situation. While the prisoners are being fed and ‘looked after’ they have no idea why they are there and what is going to happen. Their captor keeps and eye on them via the cameras in the bunker, but except from this, the prisoners have no connection to the outside world.
This book is interesting, intriguing and definitely a page turner, however I would not give it to a child. The novel is chilling throughout and while Linus’ narrative is honest and detailed, the account is haunting and distressing. The story is exceptionally realistic, and to a child, could easily be believable.
However, as an adult reader, I found that Brooks kept the exciting and mysterious story alive by introducing new characters whose personalities are intriguingly contrasting, awakening a thirst within the reader to know all their secrets. Anyone who has read this book will know that the topic of conversation about it is always the ending. While I’m not going to give away what happens, all I will say is that it is surprising. It is certainly not a satisfying end and leaves you with plenty of questions for the author.
While I can only guess what Brooks was trying to do, I imagine that he wanted the reader to be left unsatisfied. Just as Linus is unsatisfied with the lot life has given him and just as everyones’ life can leave them somewhat unsatisfied, The Bunker Diary’s ending becomes a realistic and crookedly brilliant impression.