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Hilary T. Smith
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Bryan Peterson

Six Impossible Things

Six Impossible Things - Fiona Wood Guys, I kind of want to hug this book. Funny and endearing, Fiona Wood’s loose interpretation of Cinderella has just the right balance of quirk and emotion. Narrated by fourteen year old nerd-boy Dan Cereill (anagrams FTW!), from the intriguing prologue to the grin-inducing last line, Six Impossible Things is a charming little novel. It’s a light read, in the sense that the prose flows smoothly and the dialogue is snappy (Wood’s experience as a television scriptwriter shows), but it also has a tremendous amount of heart. Dealing with family, first love, fitting in, finding yourself, the story is quite sweet and hopeful but also grounded in the realism of everyday life as a teenager. I found myself connecting to Dan as he traverses the awkwardness of adolescence and the all consuming sensation of being overwhelmed by his problems: I’m drowning. Everything feels so relentless and impossible. It’s like trying to run with no traction. There’s no one to depend on, no one solving problems, no one picking up the tab, no one to pass the buck to.There’s a slightly whimsical feeling to the story as well, especially in the structure and the list writing and vague fairytale connection. There’s this girl I know. I know her by heart. I know her in every way but one: actuality. Like Dan himself, it’s a bit of an odd sock, a unique take on not uncommon events, related in Dan’s equally witty and touching voice. For me, the characters are the highlight of this story: they’re relatable, ridiculous, real. Wood has a way of writing that makes each of her characters shine, from Dan’s Radiohead-loving Mum, the school bully I wanted to punch on Dan’s behalf, the elusive Estelle to the wise and all round winsome dog, Howard. (I want a Howard. Please.)Six Impossible Things made me laugh. It made me cringe (in a ‘memories of Year 9’ kind of way). It made me want to cheer. It felt achingly familiar at times. Suffice to say, I was delighted with this book. (Except when I read that Dan ran from Fitzroy to the Tan and around. That just made me feel incredibly unfit.)