BY MICK KITSON
Sal by Mick Kitson is a captivating and quirky, heartfelt read. This painful story of 'running away' is told with such straightforwardness and humanity that it makes for an effortless and inspiring read. Most of us in the Den read it in one sitting.
Sal is 13, and goes on the run in the Galloway Forest Park outside Glasgow with her sister Peppa to escape her actions from living with an alcoholic mother and abusive step-father. Sal knows she and her sister are different and their loyalty and determination to survive are extraordinary.
Sal has made meticulous planning for their escape - learning all her various skills needed to survive by watching youtube videos. The love and protection for her younger sister is at times overwhelming and the willingness of both sisters to see the good in people is wonderful to observe. The language is real and visceral, there is humour and compassion. Sal’s pragmatic approach towards her mother throughout is astonishing to comprehend. Added to this are the wonderful and powerful images of surviving in the wilderness of the Scottish highlands.
The ending is inevitable in its outcome, but the compelling voice of Sal is thought provoking and beautiful which makes this a powerful and unique read.
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