The Night Sky in my Head
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Mikey’s life changed following an injury to his head when he was very young. Now aged fourteen, he lives in a confusion of half-remembered events from a dark and shadowy past, and is consoled primarily by his faithful dog Timmer. An unusual side effect of his obvious difficulties is the ‘Backwards’ - an ability to witness past events – even those at which he was not present.
When he finds a dead body near the river, his gift becomes the key to unlocking the mysteries of the past and to saving him from dangerous friends and a blighted future. Mikey’s unique voice adds a fascinating perspective to a compelling story making it easy to empathise with his confusion and his intense desire to find the truth, however painful.
Endowing a disabled character with a ‘special gift’ is a device which is generally unhelpful in terms of aiding people’s real understanding of disability issues. However this book’s approach to Mikey’s unusual ability is unconventional and complex. The appearance of the ‘Backwards’ is not always welcomed by Mikey and his mother denies its mere existence – perhaps fearing what it may reveal. The book is also strengthened by the fact that Mikey is a likeable and convincing protagonist, avoiding the risk of becoming defined by his impairment. His relationship with his mother is a touching and ever-changing one and while the book shows him experiencing bullying and exploitation at the hands of some of the less savoury characters, it also sees him forming some very solid, genuine and rewarding friendships.