Binny Keeps a Secret : Hilary McKay

Binny Keeps a SecretBinny Keeps a Secret by Hilary McKay

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Binny Keeps A Secret sees Binny join a new school. This doesn’t go terribly well, and Binny is thrilled when a bad storm hits the town and wrecks the roof of their house. They have to move to a rented property in the countryside whilst the roof gets fixed. Clearly, this means that Binny won’t have to go to school, but life’s never straightforward for her. Binny has to go to school and she has to deal with the hideousity (tm Louise Rennison) but then, Binny discovers a great secret about their new house…

There are books that live and die on character, I think, books that have a voice so distinct and palpable and intense, that you can you can forgive them those moments where the structure is a little uneven or where the ending is a little sharp because the book itself is so gorgeous, so madly gorgeous, that you don’t care. You’re reading and it is good and you want that moment to live forever. I could read these Binny books forever.

A part of me wants to give Hilary McKay the freedom of children’s literature. I know there’s no such thing, but McKay’s books make me want to scream and shout and be all “just go look, look at how good she is, and how good these books are”. Binny Keeps A Secret is a little older, a little wiser, but still delightfully Binny. Binny is voice, I think, tumultous, life-living, complex, chaotic, vivid, beautiful voice. She’s an astonishing character. She makes me want to have written her and yet, I know I never could do her justice in the way that McKay does.

This is a book of voice. Of character. Life. It is messy, pretty, beautiful, foolish. It’s full of people. Family. Laughter. Loathing. And Hilary McKay is one of the best, the very best.

Now let’s talk again about that freedom of children’s literature thing…

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