The Tightrope Walkers is a coming of age story set in the 50s and 60s. The pop culture references melted in with the story adding to the entire book. It will pull on the heartstrings of most readers. Although the story takes place in northern England, the issues covered in the book transcend time, age, and geography. The characters feel real, their strengths and flaws are easily recognized. They feel like real people form someone’s memory.
The Tightrope Walkers is a hard book to put down, and I often found myself so emotionally involved that I had to turn the page to discover the outcome. The one thing that left me wanting is the fact I did have a hard time getting started. Even though I love books that use dialect, it took me a few chapters to get fully grasp what the characters were saying and I had to reread some conversation. But once I got use to the dialect, I could read the story a little faster and couldn't put it down. This is no means a reflection of the quality of the book- the writing is awe inspiring, but a personal issue.
The Tightrope Walkers is a great book for readers who enjoy a realistic story that is not easy to predict. At times the book reads more like an adult book than YA, the themes are dark and might be more suitable for mature teen readers. There is violence and death, hope and despair. David Almond addresses the dark side of humanity, but like real life, sometimes hope can be found and sometimes the sense of loss can be overwhelming. However, the beautiful writing, metaphors, and lyrical prose make this book very special.
This is a book that comes along every once in awhile that touches you and doesn't let go. It's definitely worth a read.