Boekverslag: Run, Zan, Run
Author: Catherine MacPhail
Katie’s life is being made a misery by Ivy Toner and her two friends Michelle Thomson and Lindy Harkins, who have bullied her for a long time already.
Katie has told the teachers a few times already that this is going on, but they don’t take any real action. They think it is Ivy that has some problems at home, and therefore is bullying Katie.
Because of that, Ivy decides to change her bullying from during school time, to after school time. So she waits for Katie every day, and sneaks up behind her at the times she doesn’t expect it.
One time Katie walks home over the town dump, a place where she was safe until now. But suddenly Ivy and her gang appears. But when they want to get Katie, suddenly a strange girl appears, later known as Zan, and defeats Ivy and her gang.
When Katie wants to thanks the girl, Zan tells her to stay away, else she will get her too, and Katie runs home.
The next day Katie comes back to the dump to thank Zan, and finally they become friends.
Katie finds out that Zan is homeless and lives in a cardboard box. Every time she asks why Zan is homeless, and why she has to move every time, she gets no respond.
Zan and Katie become good friends, but suddenly Zan moves to another place in town, and Katie doesn’t know where.
On Halloween eve, Katie walks to school alone to go to the Halloween party, and there Ivy and her gang are again. Ivy is madder than ever, because Katie got away last time, and when she tries to push Katie off a wall (which would’ve killed Katie) Zan suddenly appears and fights the girls again. Katie is surprised and happy about this. Zan tells her that nobody can know about this, because she doesn’t want anybody to know that she’s here. Why, she doesn’t tell.
The next day there’s a rumor in the school that Katie beat Ivy and her gang, and everyone’s excited about it. But Katie can’t tell Zan did it, so she says she beat them.
Lindy and Michelle start to think this too, because they didn’t see two girls, Ivy is the only one that doesn’t believe Katie can change into Zan, and she is definitely going to prove that.
By that time, Katie’s father has heard about all the homeless people in the town, and he started an organization to help them. He also started looking for the girl that lives on the dump, because he’d heard a lot about her.
Katie has to lie a lot to him to make him believe she doesn’t exist. She desperately wants to protect Zan because she helped her.
One day, mister Whittaker visits Katie and her parents. He says he’s looking for a girl that ran away from home. He tells them that her parents are worried and that she is dangerous and mentally ill, and that it is for his own good if he finds her, so her parents can take good care of her. Katie’s parents believe her, she doesn’t, so they have some arguments and the friendship between Katie and her father slightly becomes smaller every time.
Then, Katie gets a call from a girl named Nazeem, she tells her she’d heard great things about Katie beating Ivy Toner, and asks if she will help her to get rid of Posse, a group of three that always bullies her.
Katie is afraid, but can’t say no and she asks if Zan will help her with this.
Zan agrees and they make up a trap for Posse in an old factory. Then Katie’s father discovers them and lets them free.
Posse now doesn’t bully Nazeem anymore, and she and Katie become best friends.
Mr. Wittaker visits Katie and her parents another time, and now tells her that Zan has set her house on fire, by which her parents were killed, and that he really needs to find her so family can take care of her. He says again that she’s dangerous, but Katie keeps saying that there is no Zan, and that she made her up.
Meanwhile, Zan has heard about Whittaker being in town, and she is really scared. Katie doesn’t know why, but she promises she will help.
The make up a plan to misguide Whittaker, and it nearly worked if Ivy hadn’t responded to the advertisement he’d placed.
At the end, Posse and Ivy and her gang join together as one group and all they want is to take revenge on Katie and Nazeem.
They know where Zan now lives (an old warehouse) and tell Mr. Whittaker about it. In return he promises them that they can have Katie and Nazeem.
Zan now tells Katie why she is always on the run: it turns out that Zan’s parents had bad connections, and one evening when Zan wants to run away again, she sees a shadow in their living room, and she saw his face, a face she will never forget, the face of mr. Whittaker. It turns out that he set their house on fire, and Zan was the only whiteness, what is also the reason why Mr. Whittaker wants to find her so badly.
Suddenly Zan and Katie are surrounded by Ivy and her gang and Posse, and they tell them that Mr. Whittaker should be there any minute.
Zan and Katie manage to escape, but then Zan is caught by Mr. Whittaker, and Katie is caught by Posse, Ivy, Lindy and Michelle.
Then suddenly Katie’s parents arrive, together with Nazeem, the head of Katie’s school, and two police officers.
They caught Posse and the other girls just at the right time, because they were definitely going to do something terrible to Katie.
When they all hurried to the warehouse, they see Zan hanging on a beam, that looked like it would break any moment. Mr. Whittaker was trying to make Zan loose her grip, by pushing her fingers off the beam, one by one.
But then, Katie’s father saves Zan, Mr. Whittaker gets arrested, and they all to home happily.
Zan spends Christmas eve with Katie and her family, and they are both very happy, and like sisters.
But Zan has to go again, because her aunt in Australia says Zan can live with her, and so Zan moves to Australia, but Zan and Katie stay in touch, and nothing or nobody can break their friendship… they were friends for ever!
Place, time, language, etc:
The place where the story is set and the time at which it plays are not mentioned. We can only say that it is set in the present time at a place that can be anywhere. I think that in this way the writer makes clear that she deals with an universal problem.
The book is written in normal modern language, and the story is told by the author. Katie’s thoughts are revealed though, but she is not the I-person.
The book counts 144 pages, including a glossary of 10 pages…
I don’t think it’s a hard book to read, because it’s common English language, and no hard words are used. I didn’t use the glossary (or dictionary) at all, but that was not because I discovered it when I’d finished the book already…
- Katie: Katie is a girl of my age who is being bullied by Ivy Toner, Lindy Harkins and Michelle Thomson. When she becomes friends with Zan, the bullying becomes a lot less, and Katie is Zan very grateful for that.
Katie likes Zan and looks up to her. She also sees her as her big sister that is very brave, and can handle everything.
Katie is a good friend (or best friend) of Nazeem, a girl that she and Zan helped getting rid of her bullies.
Katie has a good relationship with her father, but this changes when she is forced to lie to him, for the safety of Zan. Katie’s father loves to do good-doing and social work to help other people.
Katie’s mother is a woman that loves to do meditations and yoga, and all sorts of that stuff. She loves her daughter a lot, and has lots of trust in her.
Katie is the main character in the book, together with Zan.
- Zan: Zan is a girl that ran away from home and in the beginning of the book the reason why is unknown. Later in the story Zan tells that her parents died when Mr. Whittaker set their house on fire. Zan was the only whiteness, and therefore he wants to kill her.
Zan has the same look as Katie, fine dark-brown hair that reaches until the shoulders and a small fine posture. Different from Katie, Zan isn’t afraid of Ivy and her gang, and she can fight very good (but she only fights when she really needs to).
Zan likes Katie, and is a but jealous of the perfect family life she has.
Zan is the main character in the book, together with Katie.
- Ivy Toner: Ivy Toner is the girl that bullies Katie. Not a lot is known about Ivy, except that she wanted to take revenge on Katie real bad, because she beat her.
She and her two friends Lindy and Michelle form the gang that always chases and bullies Katie. Lindy and Michelle only bully her if Ivy is with them.
- Nazeem: is a small girl that is being bullied by Posse, a group of three girls that don’t occur a lot in the book. Nazeem asked Katie for help, and after the trap Katie and Zan made, Nazeem almost has no more trouble with them.
Nazeem thinks Katie is magic, and that she can change into Zan, but at the end of the story she (and everyone else) finds out this isn’t true at all.
I think Nazeem sees Katie also a bit as her big sister, or hero, because Katie saved her from Posse.
Nazeem likes to talk, and always tells you everything about all the things that come up to her mind that very moment. The book doesn’t really say what she looks like.
The book deals with the problem of bullying at schools. It makes clear that teachers and parents do not take the problem seriously enough. Their reaction is often the wrong one: advice and warnings to the victims instead of the bullies. The advice may be that they should behave differently. Then the bullying will stop, as if the victims themselves are the cause of the bullying. Teachers often show hesitation to tackle the problem. They often try to find excuses for the bullies, like a difficult background or a personality problem.
Catherine MacPhail makes clear that victims of bullying should resist their bullies by working together. Only then do they have a chance to defeat their bullies and to win back self-confidence and self-respect. Showing fear is definitely the wrong attitude.
There should be no understanding for the bullies, because the victims are the one that have to suffer.
Genre: I think it’s genre is ‘real-life’ and based on her own experiences (read the biography below).
Short biography of Catherine MacPhail:
Catherine MacPhail and her three sisters grew up in Greenock in Scotland. Her father died when she was two. As a child, she had no idea that she would ever become a writer. She was not taught to believe in herself, so she simply did not have the confidence to send the stories she had written to a publisher. Only after the birth of her third child did she join the Greenocks writers club, which was a turning point. She wrote all kinds of things, such as short stories, romantic stories and ghost stories, but also humorous articles and romantic novels. She began to make a name as a writer of comedies, one of which, called My Mammy and Me, was broadcast on BBCRadio 2. It was about a mother and daughter who lived high up in a flat.
Reading books and going to films were her great inspirations, especially Little Women, which resembled her own family situation. In both families, there were four daughters and no father.
Catherine MacPhail gets her ideas from real life by observing people and by listening to them. Fighting Back for example is based on what she read about the neighbours from hell who had moved into the flats she could see from her window. The newspapers reported on how these people were terrorizing their neighbours. In Fugitive she based the main characters on her friend and her son.
Catherine MacPhails favourite book is Run, Zan, Run, because it is the first book she has written. It was about her daughter Katie and it changed her life a lot.
This book won the Kathleen Fidler Award, an award for a first childrens book, and, after it had been translated, it won prizes in Germany and Italy.
Also Missing, another of Catherine MacPhails books is rated very highly by young readers. In this novel, a young teenager is desperate for more attention from her parents. She thinks that things at home will go better if her brother who has gone missing would be found dead. But the opposite happens when news of his death arrives.
I really liked this book, especially because of the subject. I’d never read a book about bullying before, and this book makes me realize how hard it is to stand up against bullies, and what it takes to get people to understand that you’re the one that suffers and not the one that bullies you!
I’d never read a book of Caterine MacPhail before, but when I read this book, I soon found out that I like her writing style.
I think the book wasn’t hard to read, partly because it is written in modern language, but also partly because I think the book was really exciting. And when a book is exciting you read quicker than normal, because you want to know what’s next!
The book had lots of tension in it, and I think became only bigger because you didn’t know where Zan was running away for. In the end of the book you’re finally given a title explanation, and I think the end is very surprising.
So as a conclusion, I liked this book, and I will definitely read another book of Catherine MacPhail!
Catherine wilde altijd al schrijfster worden. Maar toen ze nog een klein, verlegen meisje was dacht ze altijd dat een klein verlegen meisje dat het liefste bij haar moeder en haar drie zussen was, nooit schrijfster kon worden.
- Run, Zan, Run
- Catherine MacPhail
- Meer boeken van:Catherine MacPhail