Miss Hayes has a new theory. She thinks my condition’s caused by some traumatic incident from my past I keep deep-rooted in my mind. As soon as I come clean I’ll flood out all these tears and it’ll all be ok and I won’t be scared of Them anymore. The truth is I can’t think of any single traumatic childhood incident to tell her. I mean, there are plenty of bad memories – Herb’s death, or the time I bit the hole in my tongue, or Finners Island, out on the boat with Sarah – but none of these are what caused the phobia. I’ve always had it. It’s Them. I’m just scared of Them. It’s that simple.
I can’t decide how I feel about this book. It was partially based on the authors own life. He states “I was chronically shy as a child… I wanted to distance myself from school, from that whole experience. To have a keep-your-head-down-and-get-through-it attitude. I wanted to write something from the point of view of a schoolboy that felt real – real to the experience I had at school“. The author does this very well. But the entire way through this book I couldn’t get the image of my own high school out of my head. I had a very similar experience at school, I didn’t have many friends and spent many lunchtimes on my own. It was very weird, I kept imagining the characters in my own high school, even though it was nothing like the one described in the book. I spent more time thinking about my own high school experience than I did of the characters.
There was one thing however that annoyed me about this book. It is about obsession and mental illness. The main character has schizophrenia. From very early on in the story you know there is not going to be a happy ending. The entire way through the book you are trying to guess what is real and what is happening inside the main characters head. At the end there is a small epilogue telling you what was real and what wasn’t. I didn’t like this. Throughout the book you are told enough that you could make an educated guess at what happens at the end, I would rather have come away from the book still trying to workout exactly what happened instead of being told outright.
Basically this was a strange one, I can’t say I liked it but I didn’t exactly dislike it either.
*I received a copy of this book from Hodder & Stoughton in exchange for an honest review.