Goldfish Boy

Goldfish Boy

Goldfish Boy
Lisa Thompson

Scholastic

ISBN 9781407170992

A story about finding friendship when you're lonely - and hope when all you feel is fear. Twelve-year-old Matthew is trapped in his bedroom by crippling OCD, spending most of his time staring out of his window as the inhabitants of Chestnut Close go about their business. Until the day he is the last person to see his next door neighbour's toddler, Teddy, before he goes missing. Matthew must turn detective and unravel the mystery of Teddy's disappearance - with the help of a brilliant cast of supporting characters. Page-turning, heartbreaking, but ultimately life-affirming, this story is perfect for fans of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time and Wonder. It is a book that will make you laugh and cry.

Librarian's Book choice

Suffering from severe obsessive compulsive disorder, Matthew hasn't been to school in ages. He confines himself to his home - mainly his bedroom where he feels he has complete control over germs which mean illness and illness which means death. To keep himself busy, Matthew watches his neighbours from the upstairs windows, noting what is going on and when it happens. Although the residents of the cul-de-sac don't appreciate his observations, when the toddler from next door, Teddy, goes missing, Matthew was the last person to see him and becomes the focus of the police enquiry. What follows is a mystery which Matthew is determined to solve- but to do so, he must face his own fears and leave the safety of his home. This is a book which works in so many ways. Matthew's street is full of very 'normal' people yet, as we see them through Matthew's eyes, we learn that they too are harbouring a multitude of secrets. Everyone's story develops as the mystery unravels, showing how wrong first impressions can be. The 'upstanding', the bully, the 'weird' and the reclusive all have a story to tell. The book is funny and sad in turns, encouraging the reader to think more deeply before judging others. Matthew's condition is handled skillfully, without patronising or shying away from the realities of his condition and its crippling effects on not just Matthew, but those around him. A very satisfying read, The Goldfish Boy is one to add to the must have list! 320 pages / Ages 8+ / Reviewed by Sue Wilsher, teacher.


Reviews

Goldfish Boy4/5

Goldfish Boy

Lisa Thompson

Review

Twelve-year-old Matthew Corbin suffers from crippling OCD. Trapped in a small world of his own making he rarely ventures out from the pristine confines of his own bedroom. Left to while away the hours making scrupulous notes on the comings and goings of his neighbours Matthew's highly observant nature soon becomes the key to solving a chilling mystery. When Teddy and Casey move in temporarily with their Grandfather, Mr Charles, Matthew is soon taking notes on the lively youngster and his sinister sister. It is Casey who coins the moniker The Goldfish Boy after she catches Matthew observing them through the glass of the bedroom window and Matthew takes an instant dislike to her. When Teddy suddenly disappears from the garden one sunny afternoon, Matthew wonders whether Casey is involved. Realising that she or one of his neighbours must be the culprit Matthew begins to re-examine his notes and slowly starts to emerge from his cocoon. Aided by his quirky and persistent neighbour Melody, Matthew is soon establishing means and motives for the colourful , sometimes secretive cast of his quiet suburban cul-de-sac. Attempting to solve the mystery and return Teddy to his distraught mother inadvertently forces Matthew to confront some of his own demons and reflect on how traumatised his own parents are by his behaviour. Wrongly blaming himself for his baby brother's death, Matthew belatedly realises that his life has spiralled out of control, keeping him out of school and isolated from family and friends. When Matthew and Melody (with a little help from the Police and their neighbour Jake) finally solve the mystery of Teddy's whereabouts, Matthew vows at the same time to begin making small, shaky steps on his own road to recovery. The Goldfish Boy is a wonderful, quirky read but it does take a while for the story to gain momentum. Only once Teddy disappeared did I feel truly engaged with the characters and their story. Matthew is a difficult protagonist to like but it's a genuinely intriguing mystery as well as a parable about overcoming your fears and Matthew, like the story, wins you over in the end. 400 pages / Ages 9+ / Reviewed by Clare Wilkins, school librarian.

Reviewed by: Clare Wilkins