Connecting threads weave an intricate story, Savarna Yang
July 7, 2022
Eddy Smallbone is 19 years old and an orphan, New World employee, pet minder and unintentional babysitter. His story starts just after the death of his much-loved dog. Struggling with life after the Christchurch earthquakes, he is living with his eccentric uncle, ‘Brain’, and trying to figure out what he wants to do next. Should he find his own place to stay? Get a ‘proper’ job? Leave Christchurch?
But these questions fall away as he meets new friends and reconnects with old ones and realises that what he’s looking for is already right in front of him. And as he finds a future, he can at last put the pain of the past behind him.
Eddy, Eddy by Kate De Goldi is a young adult novel that touches the heart. Written in De Goldi’s unique style, with original characters, clever language and wordplay galore, it makes you feel like you’re living and experiencing the story right beside the characters.
I’ve previously read De Goldi’s From the Cutting Room of Barney Kettle which I remember finding quite tragic, so I was ready for the sadder storyline that appears in this novel. However, I still didn’t expect it to happen when it did!
A very clever thing about the narration of Eddy, Eddy is that the events of the story are almost revealed backwards. Action in the present time is combined with flashbacks that foreshadow what will happen next. The further I read, the more I understood what had gone on at the start.
There are a lot of intricate threads woven together to create Eddy, Eddy: family, religion, reunions, relationships and death. Because of this, I think reading it over twice would be useful – that way you can pick up any little but important details you might have missed the first time around.
The side characters in Eddy, Eddy are also complex – they could pretty much all be protagonists in their own novels. There’s Sue Lombardo, the quirky nun who owns ‘Mother’, a cockatoo that Eddy ends up looking after. There’s Delphine, the excitable but good-natured daughter of one of Eddy’s clients. There’s her shy brother, Jasper, who slowly begins to come out of his shell as the story progresses. And of course there’s Boo, who really is a protagonist in her own story – it’s just told alongside Eddy’s.
It did take me a while to get into Eddy, Eddy, mostly because it was a bit hard to grasp the plot at first, but maybe also because Eddy is quite a bit older than me. However, when I got to know all the characters and had a clearer picture of what was going on, I started to really enjoy it. Unfortunately this was around the third section of the book, when a new character was introduced, and that felt a bit late.
But overall, Eddy, Eddy is definitely worth reading, and I think that anyone who has enjoyed De Goldi’s writing before will love it.
– Savarna Yang is 14 years old and lives near Dunedin