The Boy from Brighton by Geoffrey KnightPublished by Geoffrey Knight
Blurb: Seven-year-old Charlie thinks he is invincible. He is convinced he has a clock for a heart, which makes it impossible for him to die or feel the sort of heartache his mother always feels every time she and Charlie must flee another abusive loser who doesn’t deserve a woman like Charlie’s mum.
But yet again Charlie and his mum find themselves at Aunty June’s in Brighton on the south coast of England. And while Charlie’s mum seeks refuge, Charlie himself lets his curiosity get the better of him in his latest attempt to prove his own immortality.
That’s when he meets him.
The boy who saves Charlie’s life.
The boy from Brighton.
Review: Seven-year-old Charlie is wandering alone at the pier one morning when he takes a tumble that would've been deadly were he not rescued by an older boy named Ant. Unfortunate circumstances led each boy to be at that unusual place at that unusual time, but fate smiled upon them that day. Charlie is instantly enamored by the older boy, and they proceed to spend the day together, palling around and having a bit of an adventure until it's time to part ways.
Their interaction is all very sweet and innocent. Although the reader might identify Charlie's feelings as first love, Charlie is much too young to put words to his experience. He leaves Ant unsure if he'll ever see him again, but knowing somehow that Ant has made a lasting impression on him.
They followed above me as I started walking along the pier, past the shut doors of the Palace of Fun and the closed sideshow stalls, locked up tighter than a chest of treasure. It felt eerie and strange, like I was the only person left on Earth. Like everyone else had simply vanished, been eaten by those hungry seagulls, and now I was the only one left. My feet clippety-clopped along the planks of the pier in time with my tickety-tock alarm clock heart. I passed the restaurant and could smell the stale beer that had soaked into the boards the night before. I rounded the fun fair and the sealed-up dodge ‘em car rink and the scaffolding of a new rollercoaster ride that wasn’t here the last time Mum and me fled to Brighton.I love Geoffrey Knight's voice in this story. The characters and their surroundings spring to life in vivid detail, especially the sights and sounds Charlie experiences throughout his day. There's also quite a lot of humor throughout the story, which made it all the more enjoyable. The Boy from Brighton is nestling into a cozy little spot on my favorites shelf, where I will revisit it often!
I reached the very end of the pier and looked out at the far horizon.
There was nothing but water and a stupid old railing standing between me and France. I wondered whether or not my old clock would keep ticking if I tried to swim that distance. I wondered if Aunty June would jump into her Cavalier and go zooming over the hills of France to fetch me, steering wheel in one hand, ciggie in the other. I wondered if the sea was cold. I wondered if it was full of dolphins and turtles and mermaids, or full of rubbish people had rolled into the waves—rusty cars and broken prams and shopping trolleys with wonky wheels.
Review by Madison