Title: The Beauty is in the Walking
Author: James Moloney
This is an enjoyable book with a good Aussie voice but a somewhat less than believable plot and protagonist.
Jacob O’Leary’s small country town is shocked when animals are found mutilated in their paddocks. Convinced it could only be an outsider, the town turns on a young Muslim boy who’s family is new to the town. But Jacob is convinced they are wrong and is eager to prove it.
Jacob is a protagonist with a lot to prove. He has cerebral palsy and this condition has defined his relationship with everyone in his life, from his mother to his friends and even his love interest. I loved watching him overcome other peoples’ reservations about him and his growth as a character. But his way of speaking often seemed un-natural and his perceptiveness of other people and their feelings bordered on the telepathic.
His difficulty walking, a result of his cerebral palsy, also seemed to come and go. At times he struggled to get down the school stairs or to get into a car but he still managed a cross country hike, although it was painful.
The Beauty is in the Walking combines coming-of-age with a detective novel and gives us a protagonist that doesn’t fit the mould. All good things. While I found it less than perfect, it was enjoyable none the less.