…by Matt Nable.
Charlie Hudson is on holidays with his parents Leon and Glenda, and his younger brother Aaron at the beach. A socially awkward teenager, his life sets on an unusual path as he is smitten by Tess Bailey who rescues him from being beaten up by another teenager, Derek. The book follows Charlie’s life from his teenage years to adulthood. It also follows the lives of his neighbours and friends and those who have touched his life. There are his neighbours Neddy, Carol and their son Lachlan and his aunt Bernadette. And of course, his immediate family. It looks at how their lives intertwine, how things don’t always go according to plan and how life itself can unravel but then straighten up. In short, it’s a journey about life.
While I found the story interesting to begin with, it seemed to leave me disappointed. For one thing, I had to keep checking back as to who the particular character being talked about was. I enjoyed the journeys of Leon who fights hard against his true sexuality and Carol to be most intriguing. I wasn’t a big fan of Neddy or Glenda. As for Charlie, I had a feeling he probably had Asperger’s syndrome even though it doesn’t explicitly say so in the book. The other characters didn’t evoke much emotion from me. The one thing that annoyed me the most was the changing times. I couldn’t figure out what was in the present and what was in the past. It seemed to intermingle without any clear indication. It would have been helpful for the author to not only have the character’s name as the chapter title but the year as well. The concept and the story were good but the manner in which it was eventually presented probably let it down the most.
My rating: 2.