Pigeon English has been compared to Room (which I was also disappointed in) and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time (which I loved completely) so I went into the read thinking I had a 50/50 chance of coming out with a winner. I think the only real reason for the comparison between the three books is that they all use a child as the key narrator.
The narrator of Pigeon English is Harrison Opuku, a year 7 student living in the housing projects of London. Harrison, his mother and older sister Lydia have immigrated to England from Ghana and the rest of their family, including their father and 1 year old sister remain in Ghana. The book opens with the murder of a boy who Harrison knew in a distant way:
Me and the dead boy were only half friends, I didn't see him very much because he was older and he didn't go to my school. He could ride his bike with no hands and you never even wanted him to fall off. I said a prayer for him inside my head. It just said sorry.
Harrison and one of his friends become fixated on trying to work out who killed the boy through the use of their amateur detectives skills and knowledge. Harrison introduces us to his neighbourhood, his friends and his enemies at school and his family. It is through his often naive, trusting and young eyes that we begin to see what may have happened to the boy who died and what might be going on in Harrison's own family that he is not aware of. The pigeon of the title is in fact a pigeon that lives around Harrison's tower complex, Harrison sees the pigeon as a friend and ally and the pigeon (who can speak english as the title suggests) sees itself as a type of guardian for Harrison.
I loved Harrison and his voice in this book - I loved hearing from him and about him and I loved seeing his perspective of the world. For some reason though this was not enough for me to fall in love with this book and be carried away by the story. I found myself feeling bored in places, and then extremely engaged and interested in others - maybe it was this lack of consistency that made this book a little disappointing for me.