The cement garden
The story takes place during a very hot summer, in the working-class environment in a house that is literally isolated from the outside world.
Jack (aged 14): He is entering puberty. When his mother has died he gets a stronger and stronger relationship with his brother and sisters, in the end he has even a sexual relationship with his older sister Julie.
Julie (aged 16): She is responsible for the management of the household, but she clearly cannot cope.
Sue (aged 13): She has kept a diary since her mother died.
Tom (aged 6): He is the youngest brother and is sorely neglected, he is often teased at school and declares that he wants to be a girl (because girls are not teased).
Derek: He is Julie's boy-friend. In the end he goes to the police to tell what is going on in their house.
At the beginning of the novel four children (Julie, Jack, Sue and Tom) live with their parents in a large old house. The house is literally isolated from the world since it its in an area that is being demolished to make room for a new motorway. On top of this, the family have no friends or relatives and the children are strongly and consistently discouraged to bring friends home. The father is very fond of gardening, but since he was struck by an heart attack, he has decided that gardening is too much of a strain for him. Therefor he wanted to cover his garden with cement. While he's doing that, he gets a second, fatal heart attack. Now his mother become ill and three days after Jack's birthday she died too. The children put her in a big trunk in the basement which they fill up with the cement that was left from their father's garden project. After their mother's death Tom begins to say that he wants to be a girl. His two sisters threated him like that and dressed him up like a girl. Julie brought home her boy-friend, Derek, who found out the truth about the mother. Jack didn't like Derek. Derek discovers the crack in the cement (which Jack had already discovered) where the smell was coming from. He helped to fill it again. The four children said that they had buried their dog in the trunk. While Jack and Julie are having actual sexual intercourse Derek catches them in the act and quickly disappears from the room. Then he goes down in the basement to look what is really hidden in the trunk. A few minutes later he has catched the police.
The story is told by a main character, the eldest son Jack.
The story is about the social and emotional development of four children after their parents died. They feel their emotional links become stronger and stronger, to the point where they only see each other, and are no longer able or willing to realize that their is an outside world.
I like this book, but it is a little strange, some things that happen in this book are not really normal.
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