Ok so. Boy A is starting a new life as ‘Jack’ at the age of 24 because he did Something Horrible ten years ago and has been in prison since. Weird, right? It’s like he completely missed those ten very formative years and now he’s this 24-year-old teen wandering around hoping no one recognizes him from that one photo that was released to the public because the Something Horrible was REALLY HORRIBLE (and you strongly suspect that it’s muhhhduhh, so I’m not spoilering much) and society would eat his liver if they ever found him.
So. Now he’s a sweet, naive little guy tootling around trying to fit in and he meets a girl and goes to pubs with his mates and you know that he did Something Horrible but really, you kind of like him. You want good things for him.
And then even after your inner-tabloid-reader has been sated and the (very rough and sketchy – no watching through fingers required here) details of the crime come out you would still buy him a beer and WHY IS THAT? What have you done to me, Jonathan Trigell, that I have affectionate feelings towards a muhhhduhhhruhhh?
The book switches povs from temps du temps, especially near the end to help fill in different angles which I think might drive some people bats but which I totally dug. Because here is Boy A’s psychiatrist for only a chapter, but it helps you understand this Thing that happened, and here’s his social worker talking first person for a chapter, so that you get more PATHOS out of what happens at the end.
And the end! Big pool of sad, my friends. If you are having yourself a bad day, you put this down for later. If your life is not sucking, however, you need to read this thing.