Mysteries and cliff-hangers, Jessica Skudder
From the Cutting Room of Barney Kettle is a fiction novel written by New Zealand author, Kate De Goldi. The book is written in third person view and is the retelling of two Kiwi children, Barney and Ren Kettle’s lives, told by the mysterious D.
Barney and Ren are brother and sister who live with their parents on The Street and despite Ren and Barney’s opposite personalities they get along like best friends. Ren is the quiet, organised person who enjoys it when everything is perfect and in order. Barney, on the other hand, prefers taking risks and is a creative person who loves to make spontaneous decisions. Barney is always looking for ways to make a great film and loves for them to be as dramatic as possible: “But it’s so much more dramatic at night.”
The book is laid out in a series of long chapters, each ending with a cliff-hanger making you never want to put the book down, as well as containing a short letter to Moo with D’s insights on that part of Ren’s and Barney’s story. While reading the book, readers are kept full of mystery as to who D is and how he knows the full story about Barney and Ren.
When I first picked up the book I found the layout difficult to follow with every chapter following Barney and Ren then cutting to a letter from D to Moo with a cliff-hanger in between. But as the book progressed I found myself more and more engrossed and wanting to find out what happens at the end. I wound up becoming attached to the characters and as I was reading felt as if I had been invited into their lives even if just for a short time. I loved the way De Goldi showed the feelings and actions in both Ren’s and Barney’s views as well as having the opinions of D at the end of every chapter. This added to the mystery and thrill of wanting to find out who D is and how he knows so much about these two children. The event at the end of the book came as a shock but was something I found easy to relate to and I know thousands of other people around the world will feel the same.
From the Cutting Room of Barney Kettle has a series of plot twists and turns no one can predict as well as multiple mysteries you are dying to solve. All in all it is an amazing book written in such a way it sinks its claws into you as you delve deeper into the world of Barney and Ren. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and would recommend it to anyone wanting a book to read full of mystery and suspense yet still fun and childish in a way due to the children it is centred around. This is a book I think anyone can pick up and despite a slow start it is well worth a read for just about anyone.
Jessica Skudder is 14 years old, from Christchurch.