Veronica's Reviews > The Wrong Boy

The Wrong Boy by Willy Russell
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's review
Mar 23, 2009

liked it
bookshelves: fiction, mooched

I only mooched this to make up a 3-book mooch with another book that I really wanted. What a surprise! I know Russell as a playwright; I saw the original productions of Breezeblock Park, Educating rita, and Shirley Valentine back in the 70s and 80s. Russell's ear for dialogue and storytelling is well to the fore here; many of the chapters could stand alone as dramatic monologues, especially the hilarious accounts of the country singers and the coachload of Rotarians.[return][return]Raymond is the "wrong boy", always in the wrong place at the wrong time, turned from hero to zero by adult misinterpretation of a silly game. From then on he is betrayed or misunderstood by almost everyone he encounters (especially the adults) and what starts as comedy ends in tragedy when he is committed to a mental institution.[return][return]Russell has always been brilliant at mingling comedy and pathos and he doesn't fail here, although I felt the happy ending was rather weak. Of course the actual events in the story are not particularly realistic, but they way they are twisted by adults to make the odd and imaginative Raymond something he is not is horribly convincing. I really enjoyed reading this.

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