Sunday, 7 October 2007

Pobby and Dingham - Ben Rice

"Intensely moving and brilliantly realised...a pocket masterpiece" Observer

Pobby and Dingan live in Lightning Ridge, New South Wales, the opal capital of Australia. They are friends with Kellyanne Williamson, the daughter of a miner: indedd only Kellyanne can see them. Pobby and Dingan are imaginary.
Ashmol Williamson, Kellyanne'sbrother thinks his sister should grow up and stop being such a fruit-loop- until the day that his father is accused of ratting, the worst sin an opal miner can commit.
As Kellyanne, grief-stricken, begins to fade away, Ashmol recruits the whole town in the search for Pobby and Dingan. In the end however, he discovers that he can only find them if he too begins to believe they are real.
Pobby and Dingan will enchant everyone who reads it. It is very funny, moving and told without a wasted word. It introduces a new writer of prodigious gifts.

What a beautiful little book! I adored it.
Ashmol is the narrator, and he moves from being irritated by his sister's imaginary friends to doing all he can to help her find them. Kellyanne is a sensitive soul, who has few real friends and is a cause of worry to her parents. Rex, the father, takes Pobby and Dingan to the mine, in an effort to create some distance between them and Kellyanne, but when he returns to search for them, he is accused of ratting. The arrest and trial run alongside the search for Pobby and Dingan, and young Ashmol changes a lot in the process. He recruits the whole town to help his sister to find her friends, "And I did some explaining about what had happened to my dad and what a mix-up there had been. And how Pobby and Dingan weren't real but Kellyanne thought they were and that's what counts, and how my dad wasn't a ratter but people thought he was and that's what counts too."
Pobby and Dingan has been made into a film called "Opal Dream" directed by The Full Monty's Peter Catteneo, which I shall look forward to viewing.
There is an unexpected twist at the end which I obviously will not give it away, but I believe even the hardest hearted person would ind it difficult not to be moved.

"Undeniably rich: a tale woven around the importance of faith, whether in imaginary friends or undiscovered treasures, and the strength of family." The Times

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