I’ve reviewed two of Gail Aldwin’s novels here (The String Games and Paisley Shirt) in the past and I am delighted to have the opportunity to read This Much Huxley knows.
I’m seven years old and I’ve never had a best mate. Trouble is, no one gets my jokes. And Breaks-it isn’t helping. Ha! You get it, don’t you? Brexit means everyone’s falling out and breaking up.
Huxley is growing up in the suburbs of London at a time of community tensions. To make matters worse, a gang of youths is targeting isolated residents. When Leonard, an elderly newcomer chats with Huxley, his parents are suspicious. But Huxley is lonely and thinks Leonard is too. Can they become friends?
Funny and compassionate, this contemporary novel for adults explores issues of belonging, friendship and what it means to trust.
‘Read this and feel young again’ – Joe Siple, author of The Five Wishes of Mr. Murray McBride
‘Moving and ultimately upbeat’ – Christopher Wakling, author of What I Did
‘A joyous novel with the wonderfully exuberant character of Huxley’ – Sara Gethin, author of Not Thomas
It was easy to like Huxley, he’s an intelligent boy in year two, and I became engrossed in his story. It was interesting to see things through a child’s eyes and see how they interpret the world differently from adults. Including when some adults in the story talk with prejudice and Huxley doesn’t understand.
The story becomes even more compelling with the introduction of Leonard, a new person living in the community who is disabled. He seems like a friendly person and very lonely, but the adults think differently to Huxley and are suspicious of Leonard. I didn’t know who to believe, is Leonard genuine or not? It’s hard to work out if prejudice against him is clouding this character or if there is something sinister going on. It’s all explained as the story progresses of course.
It’s really interesting to read a story in a child’s perspective, it’s not something I read often and I enjoyed it. I liked Huxley and his vivid imagination. I liked the way he played with words, turning them into a joke that the adults don’t understand e.g. reputation: rip-you-station. Disapproves: dizzy-proves. It’s a sweet and interesting book that makes you think and I’m happy to have had the opportunity to read and review this book.
You can find out more about Huxley by following the #ThisMuchHuxleyKnows on twitter. And more about Gail Aldwin on her website https://gailaldwin.com/