Sunday, 20 February 2022
Friday, 18 February 2022
The Boy Who Made Everyone Laugh - Helen Rutter
"Billy Plimpton has a dream to be a famous stand-up comedian when he's older. He already knows lots of jokes but thinks he has one big problem - his stammer."
I'm always a little bit wary when you read high praise on the cover and the inside pages about how fantastic a book is going to be - maybe because I've been let down in the past.
We absolutely loved this - such a brilliant debut. The author perfectly captures the difficulties of starting secondary school, feeling/being different, having to deal with bullying and changing family situations, whilst also trying to figure out how to pursue your dreams and what you want those dreams to be.
The characters are all well written and feel like real people. If you are reading it to or with your child I think this is a book you will enjoy reading. I empathised with the character of the mother - a lot - and there was one scene between her and her son which had me in floods. I had to put the book down for a moment.
Each chapter begins with a joke and they are funny (there should be at least one chapter joke that makes you smile). My favourite is the onion joke at the start of Chapter 21. But Chapter 1 starts with:-
The past, the present and the future walked into a bar.
It was tense.
- there's also lots of funny moments throughout the book, but also some sad ones too - there were a couple of places where I cried (one of them being the mother moment above). I love when a book connects with your emotions in that way.
I thought the depiction of bullying was well done. The author made it clear that there were reasons but didn't excuse the behaviour. I think this can be quite tricky to get across.
I really like that Billy isn't perfect. He makes mistakes, he gets frustrated, makes choices - not always good ones - and has to deal with the consequences.
I could see this as a book that you would come back to again and again. Recommended and I think it would be especially good for children who are going to start secondary school and are a little worried.
(I received a free copy of this book to review)