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Set in a school in Wiltshire, Chalk takes its title from the giant chalk drawing of a horse carved into a hillside, an artwork that inspires power in our protagonist Andrew Waggoner. In  the same vein as books such as I Am King of the Castle by Susan Hill, The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks or even Lord of the Flies by William Golding, childhood bullying becomes very violent causing Andrew Waggoner to split into two people, himself and Waggoner - a warrior who tells Andrew what to do, givens him strength and promises to take over Andrew to get what he needs. The violent bullying incident that causes this is horrific and it's not implausible to believe that it would cause a psychological break in a vulnerable, isolated teenager. Only Waggoner threatens to overwhelm Andrew and change everything with no turning back. The medieval power of the ancient chalk horse only adds to his power.

 

I enjoyed this book a lot, I think it would make a great book for teenage boys. I particularly enjoyed that it was set in Thatcher's Britain with cultural touchstones that I recognised.

 

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