I'm part of the TLC tour for Christopher Wakling's latest today.
A morning outing turns devastating for one boy and his family in What I Did. When Billy ran out into the street, his father was understandably concerned and angry. But a passerby witnessing Billy's stern correction soon calls family services on Billy's father. What comes next, though the eyes of Billy himself, is nothing less than heartbreaking as Billy's father and family come to terms with the consequences of that one almost tragic morning.
I have to say that I really struggled with this book. It was a tough read in terms of subject and style. What I Did is the kind of book that evokes a lot of emotions for me and not always in a good way. I was actually quite angry throughout the story.
My biggest issue though was the way the book was written. Wakling's narrator is a six year old and the book is written very much as if a six year old were writing it. For my brain, it made it really hard to follow. Thoughts jump mid sentence and ramble in ways that had me gritting my teeth trying to connect the actual story points around all the extra babble. In truth, it would almost have worked better had I been reading it out loud! (Which I have had to do before -- Trainspotting.)
I've no doubt that some readers will have no issue with the style at all. In fact, this kind of method can be very effective. Unfortunately I'm just not wired in the right way to be able to get it. I do, in my defense, quite enjoy reading books told from a kid's perspective. I think it lends itself very well to interesting manipulation of the story as well making ordinary elements extraordinary. It's the stream of consciousness via a six year old type of narrative here that threw me for a total loop.
To visit the rest of the stops on the tour, visit the official TLC tour page here.
For more on Wakling and his other works, visit his official website (link above). You can also follow him on Twitter.