Review: Lucy Mathen – A Runaway Goat (Pause for Space Publications, 2010)

Lucy Mathen has two big hates: corruption and bureaucracy. While working as a journalist for a local newspaper, her editor refused to publish a story she’d written exposing the former so they could preserve the latter.

This enraging incident re-rattled her career into doctoring. Finally she was in an environment where she could help others, but her writing didn’t join her. Until she formed Second Sight, a charity with the ambition of healing India’s blind population.

Is this a book?

A Runaway Goat doesn’t read like a book, but a series of travel blog posts published under one title. Each chapter establishes a new scene, whilst re-establishing Second Sight’s mission statement.

However, this style doesn’t unsettle the narrative flow. In fact, it makes for exciting storytelling. After finishing each chapter, I was eager know what happens next and, unlike with a blog, I didn’t have to wait days or weeks for the next part.

Lucy also does a great job of crafting imagery for the locations she visits, and depicting India’s socio-political backdrops.

Some minor errors

One thing that does bring a halt to the narrative, however, is the grammatical errors that appear a bit too often. This may seem like a pedantic criticism: the faults may briefly kill the story’s momentum, but it doesn’t make you forget the story. If anything, this means the book should’ve had a more observant proofreading before it was published.

And while the imagery of poverty-struck India is engrossing, this is sometimes distracting from the Second Sight tale. But the charity’s mission is so extraordinary it doesn’t leave the mind fast.

Web-style is the best style  

A Runaway Goat may look and feel like a book, but the narrative uses a style of writing more common to the web to secure the reader’s investment. Syntax mistakes aside, this is a wonderful tale about a charity doing good, topped off with remarkable imagery.




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