Monday, January 18, 2016

What I Did by Christopher Wakling

Fortunately, What I Did by Christopher Wakling is a very short book. What I Did is told by a little boy, Billy, who has a great vocabulary and loves to tell stories. Although bright, he gets the words all messed up. Consequently, his story is misinterpreted by a social worker and causes accusations against his father. The reader is caught up in the events of the story as Billy interprets them. It does give one reason to pause and consider some tough family situations, but for the most part it seems very contrived.

I guess it's the telling of the story that was my biggest problem with it. In trying to speak in a child's voice, Wakling imitates Junie B Jones, and tries to use funny ways of describing events and things. I get it. I love listening to children talk. I could tell you dozens of stories in which the children I love have said ridiculous things that make me laugh. However, to read them continually just got tedious. I felt like the author was trying so hard to create a book in a child's voice that he totally got lost.

I do have to admit that I was curious as to how the book would end, so I kept reading it until the very last sentence. Then I quickly returned the book to the public library. I wouldn't call it "engaging" or "brilliant". I guess I would call it "tedious". Yes, the events in this story probably could happen to any family. Yes, there were a few times when I smiled or even laughed at Billy's malapropisms. But I tired of it quickly and certainly felt ready to move along.