Book Reviews

‘The best moments in reading are when you come across something - a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things - which you had thought special and particular to you. And now, here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out, and taken yours.’ Alan Bennett

“Many a book is like a key to unknown chambers within the castle of one’s own self.” ― Franz Kafka

Monday, 11 August 2014

Black Chalk - Albert Alla - Guest Book Review

Published by Garnet Publishing

Guest review by Janice Lazell-Wood

This is the unsettling story of how Nate Dillingham’s life changed one afternoon, when his classmate, Eric Knight, walked into their physics class and started shooting. 

Nate is the sole survivor and only witness. While he is recuperating in hospital from a stomach wound he received that day, journalists and police are at him wanting to know the truth. Trying desperately to repress unwanted memories, and dealing with crippling guilt, Nate feels the only way he can cope is to run away, and, on his 18th birthday, he does just that.

After eight years of travelling and trying to hide from the truth, he finally returns to face his demons to find he’s not the only one who’s been affected by the traumatic events of that day, those that he loves have been through hell as well. 

When he meets Leona, a grounded 19 year old, who fascinates him, Nate is smitten and they begin a passionate relationship. However, when the realisation dawns as to just who she is, all the memories, pain and guilt he has tried to quash are brought to the forefront once more. He finally opens up to her (and the reader), and we get the whole shocking story of that day. 

Told by Nate himself, this is a gripping and affecting story.  I wanted to know the reasons behind the shooting, what Nate saw, and how things were going to work out for him and Lorna.  When the end comes, I was left wanting more.  An excellent debut novel, and one which comes recommended. 

My thanks goes to Lindsay for giving me the chance to review this novel.

Many thanks to Janice for reading and reviewing this novel for The Little Reader Library!


  1. This story does indeed sound timely. It is unimaginable to think about what life would be like after experiencing something this. More so at such a young age.

    Thus this book sounds very good.

    1. Thanks very much for your comment on Janice's review, Brian, much appreciated, and I agree.

  2. Sounds like a topical read. I agree with Brian in that it is unimaginable to think about the after effects of living with this.


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