Thirteen-year-old Martin and his younger brother Charlie are on a very special journey. They’re going to be travelling 421 miles all the way from Preston to the very tip of Cornwall. They’re hoping to catch a glimpse of the dolphin that regularly visits the harbour there. But is that the only reason they are going?
This is a very funny and yet vaguely disturbing story. The reader knows something isn’t right but doesn’t know what and so the narrative makes for uncomfortable reading. The lead character writes poetry and a poem of his creation relating to the story line begins each chapter, which I think is a nice touch. The relationship between Martin and Charlie is very clearly portrayed and there is an authentic relationship with a teenage girl later in the story which also rings true . However, I’d definitely question the likelihood of a 13year old convincing the train ticket salesperson that he is 16 especially after failing to buy 2 child tickets from the same person earlier. Having read the previous three books by this author, which are all in a similarly irreverent laddish style, I’d like to read a funny story for younger readers written by him, one that comes across as playful with a light touch where this one seems targeted at 12+ and not the 9-11 age group quoted by the publisher on the back jacket. It is possible to be amusing in dark situations without resorting to toilet humour, as Christopher Edge has successfully demonstrated in “The Many Worlds of Albie Bright”; and to tackle adult and children’s points of view in a story written from the child’s viewpoint such as in “Cosmic” by Frank Cottrell Boyce. I just didn’t warm to any of the characters in this book although I appreciated the sentiment behind the story. Perhaps it’s just not the type of humour that appeals to me, but I’m not the target audience. I expect there are teenagers who will love the humour and some who will appreciate the struggles of the main characters.
Thank you to Toppsta (toppsta.com) for the copy of this title to review.