What a pleasure it is to enter into the world of a new novel and try to figure out how it works. Maggot Moon
is a puzzle to solve. First, there are the short, staccato chapters, each only a page or two. Then there are the mildly disturbing illustrations by Julian Crouch, a flip-book fly and rat (along with rat poison, decomposition, and maggots) loitering in the margins of the text. We find ourselves inside the mind of an oppressed kid in an authoritarian school, which turns out to be in a totalitarian state, "The Motherland." Soon it becomes clear that we are deep in a dystopian revision of history. In this version of the 1950s, Britain is a conquered state, and the government is at work keeping its citizens buried not in pleasurable fictions, but brutal lies.
The narrator, fifteen year-old Standish Treadwell, has a mind that is itself a bit of a labyrinth. He...
Beyond the Book
DYS- (bad, Greek) LEXIA (language, Greek)
A German ophthalmologist named Rudolph Berlin coined the word dyslexia in 1887 to describe patients who, in spite of normal intelligence, had extreme difficulties with reading. Scientific discussion of the phenomenon of what was also called "word blindness" emerged in the late nineteenth century, but the term dyslexia has only become widely accepted in the fields of education and psychology in the last fifty years. It has come to be an umbrella term for a range of problems in the use and decoding of written language, one of the disorders educators have come to call "learning disabilities" along with dysgraphia (writing impairment) and dyscalculia (math impairment).
Dyslexia is known to be a neurological condition – not...