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Ostrich by Matt Greene


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September 2013 Debut of the Month.

A charming, humorous and moving coming-of-age story that will be enjoyed by fans of Wonder by R. J. Palacio and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon.

In some ways Alex is a normal 13 year old boy entering puberty; chaotic, obsessed with girls and sex. However, Alex isn’t your typical 13 year old as he has a brain tumour - which make him feel ‘ostrichized’.

Once you get into the ‘stream of consciousness’ style of writing we think this is an intriguing debut from a writer to watch in the future.

reader reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion for Ostrich a small number of Lovereading members were lucky enough to be invited to review this title - ' Ostrich is poignant, endearing and comedic. It’s a mixture of despair and light-heartedness concocted so well that you can’t help but fall in love with Matt Greene’s first novel.'- William Alexander. Scroll down to read more reviews.

If you like Matt Greene you might also like to read books by Matt Haig, Gavin Extence and Mark Watson.

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Ostrich by Matt Greene

Alex has a story to tell. He just doesn't know what kind it is yet. He's got a lot of the same concerns most of us do growing up (exams, puberty and, in his case, a punctuation obsession plus a little quantum mechanics) but lately, ever since his brain surgery, everyone in his life is behaving more than a little mysteriously. Maybe it's adjusting to life after epilepsy or maybe it's the pressure of his pending scholarship application, but Alex is starting to see the world through different eyes. He's certain there's something rotten at the heart of his parents' marriage, and when his beloved hamster Jaws 2 starts acting up as well he decides it's time to investigate. So begins the journey that takes him to the limits of his understanding, the edge of his endurance, the threshold of manhood, and the country music aisle in Virgin Megastore. And eventually, on the eve of his English Composition exam, to the door of his mother's home-made dark room. But will Alex have the courage to expose the terrible secret that lies beyond? Or would it be better for everyone if he buried his head in the sand?


We have asked a select number of members and browsers to review Ostrich. You can read their reviews below.

William Alexander
- 'Ostrich is poignant, endearing and comedic. It’s a mixture of despair and light-heartedness concocted so well that you can’t help but fall in love with Matt Greene’s first novel.' Click here to read the full review.

Daisy Pennock - 'The beautiful, amazing story of a boy battling with cancer. One of the best coming-of-age stories I have ever read.' Click here to read the full review.

Jade Craddock - 'Quirky, witty, poignant and profound this book is a gem and firmly places Matt Greene on the literary map.' Click here to read the full review.

Sam Sabbarton-Wright - 'Ostrich is a delight! A funny, light-hearted and yet moving insight into Alex’s life as he struggles with growing up, the effects of a brain tumour and the strange behaviour of those around him.' Click here to read the full review.

Barbara Middlemast-Neal - 'Matt Greene has written a classic here - easily of the quality of Mark Haddon's "Curious Incident..." etc; it's an intelligent crossover book which will be appreciated by teenagers and - perhaps - even more so by adults. Brilliant.' Click here to read the full review.

Lesley Hart - 'Ostrich, tells the story of 12 year Alex, who is on the cusp of his teenage years. Alex is unwell, but recognising that a person is more than the sum of their symptoms and we get to know Alex.' Click here to read the full review.

Rachel Bradley
- 'I enjoyed 'Ostrich' by Matt Greene. One of the main reasons why is because of the way that on nearly every page is a fact that you probably didn't know that manages to fit into the text - mixing two different genres together.' Click here to read the full review.

Sarah Harper
- 'Taking you on a roller-coaster of emotion, Ostrich is witty, insightful, poignant, funny and terribly sad...An outstanding debut which you must read.' Click here to read the full review.

Phylippa Smithson
- 'This was one of the most addictive, page-turner and engaging books I have ever read.' Click here to read the full review.

Victoria Halliday
- 'It's Alex's narrative voice - unique, engaging and funny - that is one of the best parts of this book and is the key to making this such an unforgettable read.' Click here to read the full review.

Sarah Bedwell
- 'A great summer read that definitely makes you laugh whilst tugging at the heartstrings. It has you looking at the world with fresh eyes.' Click here to read the full review.

Rebecca Jayne Barrett
- 'It was a pure and beautiful novel with everything you'll need to make you laugh, cry and leave you with memories of how whimsical this twelve-year-old boy was, and how wonderful his story really was.' Click here to read the full review.

Safiyah Afghan
- 'Ostrich is a well written, mesmerising and thoroughly enjoyable coming of age book...Sentimental and moving, witty and humorous, Ostrich is perfect for all readers.' Click here to read the full review.

Janette Skinner
- 'Fantastic, original, funny tale of a boy Alex. He narrates a short window in his life with wit and wisdom. He is serious about grammar and his hamster. You will laugh and maybe also break your heart.' Click here to read the full review.

Robin Little
- 'A charming & engaging novel written from the perspective of a teenage boy with a brain tumor. Not a handbook for those dealing with ill teenagers but it does give an understanding of the difficulties.' Click here to read the full review.

Megan Olwen Williams
- 'Greene’s novel is unassuming yet brilliant, heart-warming and yet tragic, and constructed with such skill that at times I was left in awe.' Click here to read the full review.

Zarina de Ruiter
- 'A coming-of-age story reminiscent of The Fault In Our Stars and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.' Click here to read the full review.

Nicola Crisp - 'This book is an entertaining insight into the mind of a 12-year old interesting and amusing exploration of the relationship between a child and his parents in that awkward stage approaching teenager-hood.' Click here to read the full review.

Elisabeth Thomas - 'Alex is 12 years old. After suffering from seizures, he under goes brain surgery to try to stop them but on his release from hospital, nothing seems to be quite right.' Click here to read the full review.

Linda Hill - 'Matt Green knows exactly what it is like to be a boy stuck between childhood and adulthood and he also knows exactly how to convey that world to any reader.' Click here to read the full review.

Michelle Hemmingway - 'What the author did so well was to write a really uplifting book about adolescence but one that is at the same time quite sad and moving.' Click here to read the full review.

Hannah Glenton - 'Overall this book was disappointing; it didn't live up to the books (such as The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time) that it had been likened to.' Click here to read the full review.

Nicola Foster - 'Unfortunately, I was actually unable to finish this book and it left me feeling pretty disappointed...I’m sure a lot of people out there will love it, but regrettably I wasn’t one of them. Click here to read the full review.

Other praise for Ostrich.

'Alex is a memorable narrator with a unique perspective on life and this is a highly engaging and funny coming-of-age story that becomes all the more poignant as we begin to wonder how much coming-of-age Alex is going to get' The Bookseller

About the Author

Matt Greene

Matt Greene was born in Watford in 1985 and studied English Language at the University of Sussex, where he edited The Badger newspaper and first became interested in writing for the stage. He has co-written four plays for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, including the sell-out farce The Straight Man. Ostrich is his first novel.

Author photo © Imogen Haines

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Book Info

Publication date

5th September 2013


Matt Greene

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Weidenfeld & Nicolson an imprint of Orion Publishing Co




Literary Fiction
NewGen - YA Fiction
Debuts of the Month
Family Drama
Reading Groups
Relationship Stories
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