Goto, H. (2009). Half world. Toronto: Puffin Canada.
If you are reading this post looking for a good book to read then stop reading my blog and go get a copy of Half World as fast as possible! This is my favourite book in the list so far.
The story is based on the premise that there are three realms: Life, Half Life, and the Spirit realm. Long ago these realms were joined and people passed from Life through the Half Life world to eventually end in the Spirit realm. However, evil tainted the realms and they were divided. This division is the source of most discomfort and void of connection all three worlds are dying. Only Melanie can unify and save them. Fat, friendless, 14 year old Melanie. The main character of the story and my current heroine. Half World is a coming of age story. This is a story about the power of choice and the necessity of growing up. So many fantastical things happen in this book, but the underlying moral of Melanie’s journey is so applicable to daily life. We live in a world where people can be cruel and only by our own choices and our own inner strength can we change things for the better. With the help of friends, who can always be found, if we are willing to look for them, this is what Melanie does.
I chose it because it had a cool cover and because one of the quotes on the back described it as being a “Boschean delight à la Goto”. Hiromi Goto herself often relies on describing her characters simply as Bochean, which they definitely given in her in depth descriptions of them. An example of Bosch’s work can be seen on the left, click it to view more! However, she also invokes the work of Frida Kahlo, and M.C. Escher when describing the setting and characters within the Half World, all of which are rather accurate, although I think that many scenes, especially ones involving the ever melting, elastic Mr. Glueskin reminded me of Dali’s work.
If you liked Half World even half as much as I did I strongly recommend that you either read the graphic novel, or watch the movie Spirited Away. Similar plot about a girl who has to go into an alternate realm full of bizarre creatures to save her parents and discover her inner strength.