July 26, 2012

What I Did by Christopher Wakling

What I Did by Christopher Wakling is a novel that shows the intensity of childhood from a six year old’s perspective. It is the author’s sixth book as well, but does it really live up to the praise, or does it fall flat?

Book Description
This is a story about a terrible thing which happens to me. I have to warn you that nobody is bad or good here, or rather everyone is a bit bad and a bit good and the bad and the good molecules get mixed up against each other and produce terrible chemical reactions. Did you know cheetahs cannot retract their claws?"

Six-year-old Billy loves animals, David Attenborough documentaries, and sneakers that flash when he runs. He does not love sitting still, the blood-soaked sky in Watership Down, or his father's cell phone.

When Billy runs into a busy street, ignoring his father's commands, he sets in motion a series of unexpected, family-altering events. What I Did is a heart-wrenching reminder of how best intentions can lead to disastrous consequences, and how one rash decision can take on a life of its own.” – What I Did

My Thoughts
What I Did is a unique look at family life from a six year old’s point of view. Billy’s attention span is barely there, unless it involves something that interests him. He is often extremely clueless, and it is annoying to read his constant thoughts. Sadly, his lack of attention and concern makes me as a reader not that connected to him or the story. I was more interested in the parents than him, which is sad to say, especially since Billy was the narrator.

I think that the author’s use of a six year old as a narrator was risky. It makes for an interesting perspective for the story, but is also extremely frustrating for the reader to read the book. It isn’t something I’d want to read again, and the narrative just doesn’t work for me. It doesn’t read like a six year old’s voice. It reads like an adult pretending to be a smart child, but still an adult pretending.

* Thank you to the publisher of What I Did, William Morrow, for providing me with a copy of this book for review. All opinions expressed are my own.


Anonymous said...

He took a risk but too bad it didn't work out.

Mandy said...

While it could be in fact interesting, reading from the view of a 6 yr old isn't something I'd willingly want to do, especially when reading for fun.