Socialist Worker

The Firing — taking aim at the media

by Hannah Kuchler
Issue No. 1796

THE FIRING is Richard MacSween's first novel. It explores the emotions and to some extent the politics surrounding those mistakenly identified as sex offenders. A wave of hysteria about paedophilia swept Britain last year following the murder of eight year old Sarah Payne, ignited by the News of the World's 'name and shame' campaign.

This book aims to simplify this situation for a teenage audience through the story of Wolf and his mother, who move to a small village in the north east of England.

The novel makes you question whether panic can be generated just by rumours, or whether the media is an essential instrument for mass hysteria. This is an original subject matter for children's literature. It is successful in connecting with a teenage reader without seeming to try too hard (no bad attempts at slang).

The Firing is an educating read, both funny and sad in parts, but perhaps it is not absorbing enough for those in their later teens. It would be most accessible for 11 to 14 year olds.

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Sat 20 Apr 2002, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1796
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