Sunday, August 19, 2012

What I Did

What I Did, by Christopher Wakling.

This is the first bit and shall I tell you why? Okay I will. It is to make you read the rest.

Don't worry, it isn't a trailer. Trailers are the first bits before films which are actually really adverts and Dad said adverts are where they try to get you to buy something you probably don't want. Then again Mum says maybe you do. I often want it.

You want this story. It has already started.

This novel is written in first-person from the view of the protagonist, Billy, who is six years old. Often times this technique does work, as in Emma Donaghue's Room, but I found this novel to be a bit disjointed and almost like reading "stream of consciousness" writing, even though some "Billy-isms" were funny ... interestingly enough, Donaghue gives a recommendation of this novel on its front cover, too.

Synopsis from the publisher:
Six-year-old Billy has a vivid imagination and a unique way of explaining the world. But when he runs into a busy street ignoring his father's commands, he sets in motion a series of unexpected, family-altering events. WHAT I DID is an astounding and heart-wrenching reminder of how the best intentions can lead to disastrous consequences, and one bad decision can take on a life of its own.

Billy's father belts him in the middle of the street one day after he ignores his father and runs into oncoming traffic. A concerned pedestrian sees this and reports him to Child Services, and soon they find Billy and his family at their house. It's finally agreed that Billy's dad won't be near him without another adult around, but he keeps breaking this rule, and at the end he finally snaps and does something that definitely won't help his case.

It's sometimes fun to be in Billy's head - i.e., he writes words as he hears them, so "running commentary" turns into "running comment tree" - but for the most part, this novel took me a long time to get through. His story is definitely interesting, but might have been better told from an adult point of view, or in alternating chapters between his parents, grandma, and himself.

2 stars out of 5.

*Disclosure: I received a copy of this book to review. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.


  1. Replies
    1. If you're looking for a book with a strong young lead, you should read Room, that I mentioned - a friend recommended it and it was great.

    2. great! thanks for the recommendation.


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