all begins with a challenge. Morgan sneers at Ditto for getting
everything he knows out of books - even sex - and challenges
him to prove that literature is ever related to real life. Ditto
takes up the challenge. During half term holiday he writes down
what happens to him.
a great deal does. First his father has a heart attack, brought
on, Ditto believes, by an explosive row between them. Ditto
goes off to the country, is befriended by two strangers, drawn
into a drunken brawl, and then, astonished at his own daring,
helps to burgle a house.
the secret, and purpose, of Ditto's journey is a meeting with
a girl, Helen - the girl of his imagining - who helps him make
the leap from what he has only read about into real, life-changing
experience. True? Or 'just a story'? Was it only a game played
with words? The answers, Ditto says, are all there in his book
for anyone who accepts his challenge to look for them.
many other good novels, it is partly about writing and the nature
of fiction, and that makes it first-class reading for anyone
who has ever thought seriously about literature. Above all,
it's very funny.' Margaret Meek in School Librarian.
note about The Dance Sequence - click
published by Bodley Head 1978
paperback (with Dance on My Grave), January 2007,
contents are ©Aidan Chambers unless otherwise stated.
print since it was first published in Britain in 1978, Breaktime
has gone through six different editions, currently in a
dual volume with Dance on My Grave, which also includes
a new 'Afterword' describing its beginnings and its place in
the Dance Sequence of six novels.
'Chambers's characters are frequently witty and sometimes wise,'
Kimblerley Reynolds notes in Children's Literature in
the 1890s and 1990s (Northcote House, 1994, p 49),' but they
are not heroic or exceptional - not idealised links to the past
saving the world for future generations - and the dilemmas they
face belong very much to the [present] teenage world. What is
heroic in his texts is not just the decision to deal with the
kinds of topics that adults want to keep separate from childhood,
but also to employ narrative techniques that disturb or challenge
adult notions of what is appropriate for young readers.'