Book 29: The Rag and Bone Shop by Robert Cormier

I read this one evening, having found it in a charity shop. It’s a young adult book; many of Cormier’s books are. I don’t really know what to say about The Rag and Bone Shop. So, let’s start with why I bought it…

When I was twelve or thirteen, maybe fourteen at a push, I discovered the books of Robert Cormier in the school library. They are dark. Almost unbearably so at times. I’d never read anything like them. To this day I can still picture what I pictured in certain parts of After the First Death. I also remember enjoying In the Middle of the Night and We All Fall Down in a horrified sort of way. All three were about things I’d not thought about before. Cormier makes you see every bit of his writing clearly in your mind. So, when I saw a book of his I’d never seen before, around fifteen years after I last read one, I had to read it.

The Rag and Bone Shop still features dark things. It’s tame compared to the others though. On further research, I was sad to discover this was Robert Cormier’s last book prior to his death in 2000, and it was actually published posthumously. This book is about an interrogator, famed for forcing people to confess to their crimes, and the impact he has on the life of the story’s young hero, Jason, who is accused of the murder of a girl with whom he was friends. It’s a strange little story.

It was good to revisit an old favourite author, and as an added bonus the book featured an interview with the late author in the back. If you’d like to read Cormier (which I urge you to), read After the First Death or one of the others mentioned above, or either of I Am the Cheese and The Chocolate War for which he is most famous. I may find myself a copy of the latter two ASAP, as I’ve yet to read them.

I feel this is on the waffley side as my reviews go, so apologies if I haven’t made much sense. I give The Rag and Bone Shop 6/10. However, it has reminded me of old favourites and I will keep my eyes open for more by Robert Cormier in second hand shops.


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