Flipping Fantastic – Jane Langford

Posted: November 11, 2010 in Book Reviews

A short story is written in prose form. It has a plot which is a sequence of events. The plot has to deal with a central conflict faced by the protagonist. The events also carry a message about life and human nature.

Let us analyse the title. ” Flipping Fantastic”. We know what fantastic means. It refers to something  extraordinary, out of the usual or norm. So when some one says something or an act  is ‘fantastic’, it means it is extraordinary or superb.’Flipping’ in the context of this short story means ‘to react strongly and especially enthusiastically’. So the title,”Flipping Fantastic” could mean ‘extraordinarily superb’.

Set out in the form of diary entries by twin brothers and their mother, the story starts with the last day of primary school at Peter Hill where the  twin brothers both acted parts in a school play. Then out of the diary pages, is reflected the thoughts of both the twin brothers, Tristan and James on the new schools they will be attending shortly. The diary pages of the mother will reflect her thoughts on the behavioral aspects of her twin sons.

Tristan is no ordinary boy. He is physically challenged and is wheel-chair bound. He has  always been pushed around by James or his mother. Interestingly, Tristan has developed a ‘can do’ spirit and he is most confident for a person who needs help to get around. James, on the other hand, is shy. He is the exact opposite of Tristan, needing words of encouragement to spur him on.

In fact, James feels that having Tristan go to a special school called Chesterlea Grange, where Tristan will be home only during week-ends, is somewhat disadvantageous to him as he needs Tristan’s help in Highfields, the new school he will be attending which is a day school for ordinary students. Moreover, he is shy and believes there is  no one there whom he will be able to depend upon.

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