The Book of the Green Planet

Author: William Kotzwinkle
Pocket Books
RRP 6.99
ISBN 0 7434 4979 7
Available now

If the film ET is all about the innocence of childhood and its ability to 'see' without prejudice then The Book of the Green Planet, the movie's paper-bound sequel, is a study on the onset on teen angst and raging hormones.

It may be "home, home, home" for ET but the peaceful return from his adventure is short-lived - the reunion with Elliott, on his way to becoming the "most terrible thing of all - man", raises fading memories and expectations.

The book is neither fairy tale nor traditional narrative but the fantasy landscape of ET's home world all makes perfect sense when your guide is a short, round alien and Gertie geranium. And it somehow seems so much nicer than the book's glimpses of Earthbound existence that stand out against the strange Green Planet as angular and cold.

The book is part allegory, part stream of consciousness babble. but mainly it's a good-natured tale about friendship and memory.

Anthony Clark

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