Fish by L.S. Matthews is a captivating read. The story is timeless with its unnamed characters, unnamed setting, unnamed war and a mysterious Fish. A boy and his parents, who seem to be employed by a group similar to “Doctors Without Borders,” are attempting to escape the war torn country that they have been living in for years. They hire a guide, known as Guide, and start trekking on foot to the border of a nearby country. Just before they start their journey, the young boy finds a beautiful fish in a puddle that has formed in a recent rainstorm. The fish is an omen of some kind and the travelers decide to bring the magical creature with them. For a while, the fish is carried in a cooking pot tied to the boy’s back. Later it is moved to a water bottle. Everyone is surprised that the fish fits into the water bottle.
Even more surprising about this book is the difference between the boy’s mother and father and the stereotypical mothers and fathers we see, read about, hear about. His mother is definitely the stronger of the two parents and she proves herself in many ways throughout the story with her quick thinking and inhuman strength. The father, though his heart is almost always in the right place, is constantly bumbling up situations. The boy recognizes these things in his parents, but they do not make him love either one more or less. I believe that it is uncommon for a child to recognize weaknesses in parents at such a young age. However, in the turbulent times this family lives through, their strengths and weaknesses are more exposed and palpable because they are facing real danger and issues of survival at every moment of their journey. One thing is for sure, this is a family that loves and cares about each other, despite anyone’s faults.
To find out the fate of the Fish, you’ve got to read the book!
~posted by Alli