Friday, April 15, 2011

Catch Us If You Can... by Catherine MacPhail

This is the new novel for SPM English. And I am reading the Student's Edition. 8)


Rory and Granda (his grandfather) live together. Granda suffers from lapses of memory and requires care; which Rory does gladly. He makes sure Granda takes his pill, gets his lunch, see the doctor, etc, etc. That despite Rory being just a mere kid still. But he is very mature for his age. He forgoes football, hanging out with his friends because he knows his Granda cannot be left too long on his on. So this goes on till one day when Granda sets their flat on fire.

He gets hospitalized for smoke inhalation. Rory gets sent to Castle Street, a home for kids. There he meets this horrible girl, Tess; whose mother is in jail. She is mean to everyone. And despite that, gets special treatment. The home is run by Tom and Nellie who seem to be rather decent people. The other kids there seem to be happy. Granda soon recovers but the authorities deem him not competent to care for himself or his grandson. He is sent to Rachnadar, a retirement home.

It breaks Rory's heart. Granda is all he has and he sees life going out of his grandfather after he is placed there. So he hatches a plan to break him out. He succeeds and moves into a caravan owned by his best friend's (Dennis) mother. It's just a matter of time before he is tracked down. Dennis' mom figured it out as soon as she realizes her spare keys are missing. While fishing one day, Rory and Granda bump into a man (Sam) and his son (Tyrone). They look like good-for-nothings. But soon Sam and his wife (Ruby) came to their rescue. They smuggle Rory and Granda out of the caravan park. Rory and Granda find out that good people come from different social groups. It's not exclusive to a certain segment.

An all points bulletin is put up to locate the pair. The whole country goes into a debate. Many are drawn to the tenderness of the situation - a kid trying to remain his grandfather. Yet they are hunted down by the law, though there are reminders via the media that these 2 are not criminals. When it becomes clear that it no longer is viable for Rory and Granda to remain with Sam's family, it is decided that they move on. Their 'escape' runs into a grind when Rory is identified. They steal a car. While trying to fill up at a petrol station, they are yet again identified. But, Rab, the owner tries to help them. He gets his girlfriend, Annie to help them go to London. Annie deposits them with her relative, Norma and her daughter Nicola. Norma squeals on them because she feels that Granda is too frail. Squealing with good intention. But Nicola informs Rory just before the police arrives.

They escape by the breadth of their hair. This final act of escape does Granda in. He almost succumbs in the the attempt. Rory has no choice but get help. The authorities are soon brought in. But all the publicity has also alerted Granda's long lost son (who walked out when Rory was born) of their plight. He and his father (Granda) do not have a good relationship. In fact Granda goes into a fit each time Jeff is mentioned. But Jeff comes back into their lives.

Granda hovers between life and death. He survives. His son, Rory's father, Jeff is now married to Karen, with 2 daughters - Rhonda (5) and Ava (3). All ends well.

Unlike its BM counterpart, Interlok, which I've yet to read but have read plenty of comments about it, this is a nice book; one that gives us hope that there is still goodness in humanity. Best part is there is no hidden agenda to brainwash the readers, except to remind us that while society exists with his bias, there is also a fair amount of right-minded people. That there is hope for the better. Now, don't you think that's how we should 'brainwash' our next generation. I'm still trying to get my hands on Interlok. And if it's really that 'bad' as they say, I think our education system is going to do the dogs.... the foulness and stench of dirty politics is overwhelming it.

Book 15.... a cheat mode one. LOL! Cos all it takes to finish this book was a mere 40 minutes!

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