Questions and intrigue, Olivia Pugh
From the Cutting Room of Barney Kettle
Kate De Goldi
From the Cutting Room of Barney Kettle is a loveable, New Zealand children’s/young adult’s book which is written in a unique style by Kate De Goldi. It is about the life of the young and very extraordinary Barney Kettle. A hint on the back cover gives away that the story is being told by an older man from his hospital bed, which gives this story even more of an intriguing touch.
Barney is an aspiring film director and a bit of a megalomaniac as everyone tells him. With the help of his intelligent, younger sister, Ren, they run a film company called “Kettle Productions” which creates short, 15 minute movies. Thanks to Barney’s big personality and ego, things don’t always go to plan and his actors and actresses don’t always play along – much to Barney’s frustration. This book tells the story about Barney and Ren as they embark on their biggest and best movie, which is all about the untold story of the Christchurch High Street.
While making their movie, Barney learns to appreciate the street and community even more and enjoys listening to the stories told by his elders. Life takes an even more interesting turn when mysterious zines about unusual characters start popping up wherever he goes. The envelopes carrying the zines are all addressed with the word “YOU” on the front and come from an anonymous and extremely secretive author.
Reading this book fills you with lots of questions and gets you wondering about all sorts of things: how will Barney finish the movie? Will he become a successful film director? Who is leaving these zines all over the place? Most importantly, how will it all end?
I found this book to be a great read and was very engrossing. It is probably more directed to mature readers aged around 13+, as some of the wording is quite advanced. It is also hard to get your head around all of the twists and turns that the story takes. Otherwise, a highly recommended book.
Olivia Pugh is year 8 at St Benedict’s School, Wellington.
The review keeps a nice focus on the theme of story-telling in the novel, by describing all the kinds of authors in the book: the narrator in his hospital bed, Barney and Ren making their movies, the people of the High Street telling their stories to them, and the mysterious author of the zines. The review has a theme, just as the book does.
Editor’s note: Close