It was with much excitement that I got my hands on a copy of Lara Williamson’s latest novel ‘Just Call Me Spaghetti-Hoop Boy’. For me Lara is a genuinely brilliant storyteller who crafts the most exquisite and poignant tales. Every time I read one of her books I fall totally in love with the characters and it’s her distinctive style of truth, warmth and humour that I find irresistible. Like ‘A Boy Called Hope’ and ‘The Boy Who Sailed the Ocean in an Armchair’ this book proves to be an absolutely compelling read. Be prepared to laugh, cry and have your heart broken by this wonderful story.
Meet Adam Butters, who is on a mission to be a superhero because, well, every one loves superheroes, they solve problems and make people happy. And in Adam’s complicated life he desperately feels the need to make people happy. He doesn’t know why, but his Mum needs cheering up and perhaps if he was an actual superhero his real Mum would want to meet him. And he’s convinced she must have thought he would be super as he discovers she called him Ace – when he finds his birth certificate. But it’s not the easiest of superhero missions. Adam’s project doesn’t go exactly to plan after he makes a painful discovery but eventually he realises you don’t have to be super to be a hero.
Families are at the heart of all Lara’s stories and the family dynamic in this book is really interesting . We have his older sister Minnie who feels jealous about the amount of time Adam spends with their Dad, his Mum who is hiding a secret, a comic book obsessed Dad and Velvet the younger sister who drives everyone mad with her invisible dog called Sausage Roll. The family is under pressure and nobody knows exactly what is going on which causes misunderstanding and uneasiness amongst them. Lara examines the complexity of the relationship between an adopted child. their parents as well as their siblings. Illustrating how the need to discover more about their ‘real’ parents can sometimes be an overwhelming and uncontrollable desire. Once again Lara has assembled a magnificent cast of characters including one of my favourites the fantastic and not so small, Tiny Eric. Who (despite having his own troubles) works incredibly hard to get Adam to see that he is already great, just the way he is, because learning to accept yourself for who you are is really central to this story. A truly emotional and stunning read, this story left me with tears in my eyes and joy in my heart.
Thank you to Usborne for sending me a copy of this wonderful book.