I read this book lately. I just happened to find it on a bookshelf I had to move for decorating purposes and was intrigued by a) Ian McEwan having written for children, something I didn't know about, and b) illustrations by Anthony Browne, whose books Dulcie and I love. I don't know where my copy of this book came from really, but it was with a whole load of books I had for the classroom when I was teaching and I don't remember buying it in a charity shop, so I think my mum or dad must have given it to me while I was still busy having a proper job with a classroom bookshelf to fill. I was probably too busy having a near nervous breakdown at the time to pay it the attention it deserved, but - WOW - it's such a great book! It's really quite dark and grotesque in parts and kind of sad in others, but the moral core of it is certainly very sound. I'm going to be putting this on the Dulcie-must-read shelf for when she's a bit older, though I think grown-ups should read it too, for sure.
I seem to be enjoying children's fiction. Quality children's fiction, I should add, but children's fiction nonetheless. I don't look on children's fiction (quality children's fiction! ha!) as a lesser genre, but I do worry my brain is subtly telling me it's not up to the mental challenge of "real" books any more. But I'm thinking I might indulge this interest and read more of the books I found on my once-classroom shelf.