I began to realize the implications of this story with Max Power’s use of foreshadowing. He hooked me with the quick pace right from the start. The story that reads like a memoir pulled me in from the beginning as Little Big Boy forgot his baby sister Lo-Lo in the supermarket. I practically bit my nails down to the skin at the thought of what would happen to her. Even though set in a safer time (1970 Dublin, Ireland), I still imagined horrible things.
With Little Big Boy’s ever-expanding relationship with his Mam, he managed to tell the story with tenderness and without a bitter tear coming through his little-big eyes. Much attention should be given to the author’s approach of love and warmth filtered through the goodness of Little Big Boy’s Mam and him wanting to please her–the one person he loved more than anybody else.
Despite an alcoholic father, and his circumstances both at school and in surrounding neighbourhoods, the excellent writing of Max Power did not subject me, the reader, with too much to handle too soon. Even with this little boy’s tummy empty many times, and the page-turning darkness always looming, the emotional writing style told from Little Big Boy’s perspective alleviates much of the heaviness of his survival. His longing to fit in without compromising his Mam-instilled honour, even in the intensity of so much anguish, there are small mercies of kindness interspersed. Plus, there are many delightful details as Little Big Boy goes deep into his imagination-filled make believe worlds.
The author, Max Power sandwiches even the worst of circumstances between innocence and joy with quite a few tears of sadness for the secret sauce. Little Big Boy’s perceptive self is big enough to see acts of kindness that mellowed out the harsh truths. These acts of humanity soften the appalling developments, and Little Big Boy’s determination alone allows him to celebrate in the end with his soul unharmed.
A couple of scenes reminded me of the best-selling memoir, Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt and another wonderful memoir, The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls. Both books are about children growing up poor with alcoholic fathers. Like Angela’s Ashes, Little Big Boy brought the flavour of Dublin to life. But Little Big Boy’s mother figure and their relationship together grabbed into the heart of this mother. With that comparison, as a mother of two boys, I’d have to say Little Big Boy struck a greater chord with me. That difference in mother love labels this book as one of my all-time favourites.
Max Power’s books include, Darkly Wood, Larry Flynn Bad Blood and Little Big Boy
You can find more details about Max Power’s books here : – http://www.amazon.com/author/maxpower