'John Egan is a misfit — "a twelve year old in the body of a grown man with the voice of a giant" — who diligently keeps a "log of lies." John's been able to detect lies for as long as he can remember, it's a source of power but also great consternation for a boy so young. With an obsession for the Guinness Book of Records, a keenly inquisitive mind, and a kind of faith, John remains hopeful despite the unfavorable cards life deals him.
'This is one year in a boy's life. On the cusp of adolescence, from his changing voice and body, through to his parents’ difficult travails and the near collapse of his sanity, John is like a tuning fork sensitive to the vibrations within himself and the trouble that this creates for he and his family.
'Carry Me Down is a restrained, emotionally taut, and sometimes outrageously funny portrait whose drama drives toward, but narrowly averts, an unthinkable disaster.' (Publication summary)
Unit Suitable For
AC: Year 11 (Literature Unit 1). Year 11 has been chosen as the focus for this unit because it deals with significant themes demanding some maturity with a strong focus on literary technique and analysis appropriate to that year level.
aspirations, bullying, domestic violence, family, isolation
Critical and creative thinking, Ethical understanding, Intercultural understanding, Literacy
'Maria (MJ) Hyland’s extraordinary second novel, Carry Me Down, was published in 2006, two years after her debut, How the Light Gets In (Canongate, 2004). The critical reception for Carry Me Down was almost universally positive, and the novel was shortlisted for both the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the prestigious Man Booker Prize. Told in the first person from a twelve-year-old’s point of view, Carry Me Down is a perceptive and claustrophobic study of a boy who longs to escape the limitations of his family, his country, his life and his class.' (Introduction)