Book study of \'The Other side of the fence\'

Book Study of "The other Side of the Fence"


Title: The Other Side of the Fence
Author: Jean Ure
Date of Publication: 1993


The point of view is “Eye of God," but sometimes it speaks out the main character’s thoughts as if it were him narrating it.

“Richard looked up. A boy dressed in baggy jeans and a thick, army-green sweater was pushing his way towards them. He was about the same age as Richard, several inches shorter but a good deal stockier. He jerked his head at Bonny.
Bonny hesitated. She looked back at Richard.
‘So are you coming or not?’
‘Oh, I suppose... if you really insist --’
‘Suit yourself’ said Vic.
‘No, that’s all right.’ Bonny slipped her hand into Richard’s. ‘We’re coming.’

Altered to 1st person - Richard’s view:
I looked up to see Vic, the boy who owned the squat. He was dressed in baggy jeans and an army-green sweater, and was pushing towards us. He looked to be about my age, but a few inches shorter than me. He jerked his head at Bonny, and said OK. Bonny seemed to hesitate, and looked at me, and asked if I was coming or not. I thought about the ups and downs, weighed up the pros and cons, but decided to, so I replied that I would if she insists. And the Vic said cockily ‘Suit yourself.’ Bonny replied and said ‘No, that’s all right, we’re coming, and slipped her hand into mine.

This would make the book worse, because you wouldn’t see everything from reading the book as you need to sometimes to make any sense. For instance at the start, Richard is contemplating picking up Bonny when she is trying to hitch a lift. The narrator switches from person to person, explaining what they are thinking at each point of time.


“... I can always hitch another lift’, Bonny said.
Richard frowned.
‘You oughtn’t to do that sort of thing.”
‘Why not?’
‘It’s dangerous. Any pervert could stop and pick you up.’
‘Like you I s’pose.’
Yes. Absolutely. He looked down at the pieces of broken biscuit still in his hand.
‘Here, I was only joking!’ said Bonny.
She might be. His old man wasn’t.
‘Drink your coffee,’ he said. ‘It’ll get cold.’
With surprising meekness, she did so. Obviously felt that she had upset him, and wanted to make amends.
She hadn’t upset him. From now on he wasn’t going to let himself be upset. He was going to be tough and independent. Go his own way, do his own thing. He took off his glasses and peered round, short-sightedly, for something to wipe them on.

This bit I find effective because it seems to switch between the 3rd person point of view of Bonny to Richard, without much warning, not so much as a new chapter. But also, the bit I am talking about ‘... wanted to make amends. She hadn’t upset him...’ can be read as both ways. The middle bit ‘wanted to make amends’ can be read from Bonny’s or Richard’s 3rd person point of view. I also think this paragraph is effective because it gives a little and a little more of what Richard’s personality is like, of which it does often. It is always feeding you information, slowly. Like for example this bit, it shows that for all of Richard’s life, his father had told him what to do, where to go and more importantly what he did wrong.


The name of the character I have chosen is Bonny.
I like Bonny because she speaks her mind, and does not seem to care all that much about what people think of her.
“‘Bonny stood watching him go. Toffee-nosed prat! Who did he think he was, looking at her like that? Like something the cat had brought up. Queen of England? “

But there is one aspect about her that I dislike, which is that she seems to be very dependent on an ex-boyfriend, which I see as a great weakness. She sort of looks up at him as if he is an indestructible, can do no wrong guru, when he is actually a loser. She is always relaying to the reader about ‘what Jake would have said’ about Richard, about the lady behind the counter