Some time ago, I reviewed Paul Jennings' new book, The Nest. At the time, while I thought it a perfectly good YA novel, I was not sure how the fans of one of Australia's funniest writers would feel about a book that wasn't funny. As a teacher-librarian, I have recently spoken to two young men about the book. I lent it out to a student who was told it was not going to be funny and said fair enough. But two days later, he returned it, syaing apologetically that in his heart he had expected it to be funny and simply couldn't finish it.
But yesterday I spoke with another student, who asked me if I had read the book, which he wanted to discuss. He had no problems with the fact that it wasn't funny and was enjoying it, he said, although he found the "short chapters" confusing. When I had explained that those short chapters were meant to be stories written by the hero, which told you something about his feelings, the student's face brightened: he got it! Now he will enjoy it more.
The jury is still out on this book, for me, at least, but it is interesting to have had two types of feedback. It would be a shame if Mr Jennings couldn't interest his fans in a new kind of writing.