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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
The boys are dishonest with their father. They use the death of their mother to gain sympathy and get out of trouble.
Violence & Scariness
Damian is threatened by a criminal.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
One of the boys looks at a lingerie website, and tries to see nipples.
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Products & Purchases
As the boys spend the money, lots of products are mentioned approvingly, though they don't bring much satisfaction.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that the main character, a 7-year-old boy, moves to a new town after his mother's death. Young readers might need help with a few of this book's references, and American children will likely need help with some of the Britishisms.
Is It Any Good?
Screenwriter Frank Cottrell Boyce's first book hits the mark with quirky characters and a plot that is funny, exciting, and complex. Already turned into a movie this delightful and thought-provoking story succeeds on several levels. Damian is surely one of the most poignantly endearing narrators in a while. He wants so badly to be good and do right, and he's so completely clueless. Like Huck Finn, he tells the reader far more than he understands himself, and his imagination or visions or whatever you think they are (the author is deliberately vague) are blurring the line between fantasy and reality.
But in addition to the humor, poignancy, and suspense, this story has intellectual depth as well. As the boys start spreading the wealth around their school and town, they inadvertently change the economy of the schoolyard. And while a 250,000 pounds is a lot of money, it's not unlimited, and there are so many needs out there. As one boy struggles to do what's right, another struggles to satisfy all his appetites, and the whole town wants a piece, many important and topical issues are raised. This novel is sure to be frequently chosen by reading groups for years to come.
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Our Editors Recommend
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