After loving Sheehan’s first novel, the Carnegie nominated ‘Swan Boy,’ I was delighted to be invited to review her latest book – ‘Goodnight, Boy.’
It follows the life of JC, who has been banished to live in the dog’s kennel by his new adoptive father after doing something so terrible he can’t bring himself to talk about.
As he attempts to while away the hours until his adoptive mother, Melanie, returns, JC begins telling his mangy mutt and best friend, Boy, his life story – from happy times at home with his family, to the devastating earthquake which struck Haiti and swept away his life as he’d known it.
It soon becomes clear that JC’s adoptive father is becoming sicker and sicker and JC realises he and Boy must find a way out, and soon! If they don’t, an already desperate situation could become life-threatening.
I fully expected to enjoy this book and wasn’t disappointed. I read the whole lot in one sitting, desperate to find out precisely what terrible act JC had committed to get himself imprisoned in the dog house.
The story is told in a poetic free-flowing stream of consciousness style as JC holds a very one-way conversation with Boy, only settling into more traditional form as he elaborates on some of the more significant events in his life.
My heart broke time and time again as I learnt about the hardships suffered not only by JC but also by his adoptive mother, Melanie and his seemingly monstrous adoptive father. Never more so as the events leading to his incarceration were slowly unfolded.
It was also terrible to see how grateful JC appeared for his change in circumstances, simply counting himself lucky to have a roof over his head. How traumatised by his past must he have been to be accepting of his lot?
Definitely one for teen readers due to its sometimes harrowing content, but also definitely a very worthwhile read.
*Many thank to Rock the Boat Books’ for sending me this title to review*