What I Did

Christopher Wakling. Morrow, $13.99 trade paper (288p) ISBN 978-0-06-212169-1
Wakling (Devil’s Mask) creates a memorable narrator in Billy, a precocious and headstrong British six-year-old who understands the world through nature shows. When Billy runs into a busy street, his father, fear turning to rage, spanks him before the eyes of a nosy jogger. The jogger promptly calls child services, beginning a terrifying odyssey in which concerned agents of the state try to protect the boy from what they see as an abusive father. Not comprehending the gravity of the situation, Billy makes comments that unintentionally incriminate his father and drive the entire family closer to the breaking point. Much in the vein of Atonement, a well-intentioned innocent threatens to destroy the people he loves most, and Wakling clearly takes a childlike delight in the language of his narrator. The book is filled with amusing catachreses (“test buds” for “taste buds,” for instance) that have an irresistible charm for the first hundred pages or so, after which the devices becomes irritating and the limited perspective hinders any larger point. But the novel is affecting, filled with many poignant scenes. Agent: Lisa Bankoff, ICM. (July)
Reviewed on: 04/16/2012
Release date: 07/01/2012
Genre: Fiction
Ebook - 288 pages - 978-0-06-212170-7
Ebook - 288 pages - 978-1-4434-0959-9
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-1-4434-0957-5
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