Little Big Boy by Max Power on Amazon.com
Little Big Boy is a bitter sweet, but mostly painful portrait of a young boy growing up in 1970’s Dublin. Childhood should be a happy and carefree time, but for many of us it is anything but and it helps us to empathise with the main character. For this seven year old boy things are especially hard as his father is a violent alcoholic. His Mother tries to keep him safe, but she has three other kids to care for too. School isn’t a safe haven either as our Little Big boy has to negotiate the perils of the playground and the sadistic Christian Brother teachers.
I’ve read Darkly Wood by the same writer and I think here, he has again masterfully created a sense of dread that builds throughout by cleverly hinting at events to come. (In Darkly Wood it was by tales from the past, but it sets a tone that makes the reader suck in his breath and move to the edge of their seats. You want to know what will happen, but you know it won’t be good. What stops this book from being sentimental is the little touches of humour and warm nostalgia. I think Max Powers has succeeded in bringing 1970’s Dublin to life for me. Max Power has a very distinct and readable style, I’d recommend it.