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Posted on June 6th 2019
Wild Boy - Book Review by Linh, Year 10
Linh, Year 10, reviews a novel set in 19th century Southwark.
Wild Boy is Rob Lloyd Jones’ debut novel and it received the Branford Boase Award. The novel is set in Southwark, London in 1838.
The story starts on an eerie night when the moon is the colour of mud. The Showman visits a workhouse and demands access to our protagonist, Wild Boy. The Showman wants Wild Boy to be part of his freak show. The uncaring name, Wild Boy, was given to our protagonist because of his ‘monstrous’ appearance as he is covered from head to toe in thick hair. Sadly, he is also covered in scratches from fighting with other boys from the workhouse. Wild Boy was abandoned when he was a baby because of his strange appearance and he grew up in a workhouse. Isolated and away from the people in the workhouse, Wild Boy was full of loneliness and agrees to join the Showman’s freak show.
Wild Boy’s freakshow home is part of a travelling circus. Whilst at the circus, Wild Boy meets other usual people and makes new friends. There is the acrobat, Clarissa Everett, who Wild Boy loves to argue with and Sir Oswald who is cruelly referred to as a ‘freak’ because he has no legs. Wild Boy’s life is turned upside down when he witnesses the dreadful murder of Professor Wollestonecraft. People accuse Wild Boy of the murder and so he must escape them in order to avoid a life time in jail.
Why does everyone accuse Wild Boy of the murder? (Hint: the moon was the colour of mud). Will Wild Boy let chance decide his fate or will he solve the murder himself? Wild Boy will have to use his extraordinary powers of observation and logical thinking to help him identify the evidence that will allow him to clear his name.
Solve the mystery
Commonly readers feel terribly sad about the protagonist's miserable life and the way he is dehumanised and treated harshly. It is not only the mystery that makes the novel so exciting, but also all of the information that Jones conveys about Southwark, where we live.
This is a great book that I strongly recommend you to read as part of your research for Creative Writing (GCSE English language, paper 1 fiction). This book is perfect for those who wish to challenge their logical understanding and for fans of Sherlock Holmes. To those who read Wild Boy as their first detective book, I hope you enjoy the story and solve the mystery.
Linh, Year 10