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The Altar Boy Grant McDuling

The Altar Boy

Grant McDuling

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 About the Book 

The Altar Boy is the story of a boy who has just turned ten and finds himself viewing his world through innocent, yet slightly more mature, eyes.The tension in this book centres on the conflict brought about when common sense clashes with acceptedMoreThe Altar Boy is the story of a boy who has just turned ten and finds himself viewing his world through innocent, yet slightly more mature, eyes.The tension in this book centres on the conflict brought about when common sense clashes with accepted convention.The altar boy discovers he is suddenly able to question things and apply the test of reasonableness to everything that is commonly accepted. What he discovers troubles him.The Altar Boy is written in the first person, present tense and is aimed at the Baby Boomer market. It is set in the early 1960s, a time when the Roman Catholic Mass was still said in Latin. The altar boy questions this and deduces that the language understood in heaven must be mysterious and inaccessible to all but priests. He discovers the beauty of classical music and finds that it too must be heavenly in nature due to its strange form of notation and odd language.This is a book that mixes the everyday events of growing up with the part played by the Church in this process. The traditions of Christmas and Easter, belonging to organisations like Cubs and dabbling in simple businesses to supplement pocket money are all part of discovering the ways of the world as we transition from childhood to becoming an adult. This path is highlighted through symbolic events such as switching from writing with a pencil at school to the permanence of ink. It plays on the fact that we all hanker after belonging yet at the same time want to be free of those shackles that belonging entails.