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Eighteen-year-old Chris struggles to deal with two shocks that have changed his life, his meeting the mother who left him and...
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Eighteen-year-old Chris struggles to deal with two shocks that have changed his life, his meeting the mother who left him and his father when he was ten and his discovery that he has gotten his girlfriend pregnant.
Maybe we all the to burn off across the horizon, into space, perhaps, to take off into some unknown territory and meet ourselves out there. This book is a kind of journey, but I don't know yet where it's all going to end.
It all began last January on a dark evening that was full of sleet. Funny, it's not long ago. I was just a kid then. But today is October 2, and this is where I begin to write, where I open a door into the past. It leads into a room in my own house, on a back street not far from the city center. From the window I can see the lights of thousands of houses that dot the contours of the hills and valleys of Sheffield. This is my bedroom, full of all kinds of things: my model railroad packed in boxes under my bed, my posters and photographs looking like bleak little flags of childhood on the walls. When my closet door swings open, it shows just a few T-shirts, a sweater that's too tight, my old sneakers. Already it feels like somebody else's room.
I had finished packing my knapsack, ready to take to Newcastle the next day. I took it downstairs and propped it up in the hall. I felt restless; it was too early to go to sleep, but there was nothing left to do to fill in the massive gap between that day and the next: my old life and my future. In a way I was dreading it, leaving all that behind, knowing that nothing would ever be the same again. I hated the thought of saying good-bye. It would be so much easier to just go, just walk through my bedroom door and find myself in a student's room with my posters already on the walls and my guitar by my bed.
At about eight my dad came upstairs with a package for me. Hestood in the doorway, looking around at the room with its open, empty drawers.
"All packed, Chris?" he said.
Most of all, I hated the thought of saying goodbye to Dad.
"Looks as if you'll have to open it all up again. You've got a good-bye present."
He touched my shoulder lightly as he put the package on my bed. I knew it was going to be hard for him too. I listened to him as he made his way downstairs, leaning a little on the banister because of a slight limp he has, his hand making that familiar squeaking sound on the wooden rail as he took each step. When I looked down at the package, I recognized the handwriting on it straight away. It was Helen's. Now I could remember the last time I'd seen her; her face then, the misery I'd felt. I opened up the parcel and shook out the contents over my bed. It was just a pile of letters. I picked them up one by one, not understanding what it was all about. They all began the same way: Dear Nobody. I sat there feeling bleak, with a growing kind of grief in me. Once she and I were the most important people in our world. Is this what I'd become to her? Nobody? I began to read them, in order, trying to make sense of what she was saying in them. They took me back to January. As I said, that's where this journey really begins.
Early January. The sort of day that never really starts, when daylight hardly happens and night folds in by midafternoon, hushing everything back to sleep again. I was at Helen's house, and we were alone together, lounging back in the big, comfortable sofa, reading and listening to music, kissing a lot. Helen said she wanted to upstairs for something, and she stood up, trailing her fingers out of my hand, smiling down at me. I didn't want her to go away from me for a second. I followed her up and put some music on in her room, very softly. She has flimsy blue and green silk scarves trailing down the walls; they billow out with the slightest breath of air, as if they were birds drifting. Whether it was the choice of music, or the strange dim light in the room with the curtains still open and these long, mothy scarf wings fluttering; or whether it was the way she looked at me, questioning and smiling, when she came to me, I don't know. Maybe it was that something we had never dared talk about had been building up in us for weeks and took us by surprise and storm. It certainly wasn't calculated, that was for sure. Neither of us had known it would happen. But that January evening when the house was empty and a pale and watery moonlight cast the room into white ghostliness, and our favorite music was playing, Helen and I touched each other where we had never touched before and made love.
Afterward I found it impossible to look at her without smiling. Her mum and dad came back from shopping, arguing about which of them had been responsible for forgetting to buy something for that evening's meal, and Robbie came home wet and hungry and was told off for being late. Helen and I sat in the kitchen drinking coffee and touching hands, trying not to took at each other.
"I wonder if they can tell?" I mouthed at her. She looked away from me with a glimmer of laughter in her eyes and stood up to help her mother unload cleansers and unsweetened grapefruit juice. I watched her stacking things up on the counter. I could see her reflection in the window, two Helens coming together and separating as she moved backward and forward from table to sink, together again, and apart...
Posted February 3, 2009
I read this book when I was 13. I am now 26. This book is one of the most memorable from my teen years. I would highly recommend this book to teenagers and adults of all ages! Was a wonderful, emotional, and gripping story!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 17, 2007
Posted January 11, 2004
I thought this was a great book. It mad me realize things that I didn't realize before. Because I'm in a relationship with someone I really care about now and I dont want to mess things up with him by making the same choices that Helen did. I wish they would've stayed to gether. Every teenage couple needs to read this book and realize what really does happen in real life!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 24, 2003
This book is amazing. It is heartwarming and amazing. Even though I did wish that Helen and Chris stayed together, this book made me guessing all the way through. I could not put it down. I recamend this book to anyone who truly enjoys romantic novels. It was amazing! There should be a sequal to it. I truly hope that all you readers will take my advice and read this book. Brilliat, Just Brilliant!!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 21, 2003
The book shows that love is so much more than a lot of good feelings. It shows there are consequences and they are very real! Through the whole book all I could do was keep reading hoping that things would work out for the two of them! In the end it was geinus how when Helen was writing to 'Nobody' it tunred out to be her unborn child. The Book really showed the true life side of love and life and sex. Props to Berlie Doherty, what an awsome piece of work! This is by far my favorite book!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 26, 2002
Posted July 24, 2001
WHEN I READ THE BOOK WANTED TO SHARE MY OPINION WITH SOME ONE SO I LEND THE BOOK TO MY MATES TO READ IT.AND THAT WAS WHEN I HAD THE OPORTUNITY TO TOLK TO SOME ONE ABOUT IT. THE BOOK OPENED MY MIND AND MADE ME THINK WHAT SEX CAN DO TO YOU. IT MADE ME CRY KNOWING THE FACT THAT HELEN'S MOTHER DOES'NT WANT CHIS TO GO AND SEE HER.I REALLY LIKE CHRIS AND WISH TO HAVE SOMEONE LIKE HIM.I ALSO LOVE THE LETTERS HE WAS WRITTING TO HELEN WHEN HE FOUND OUT THAT SHE IS GOING TO GET RED OF THE BABY HOW HE EXPRESSED HIS FEELINGS.THE BOOK HAS CHANGED MY LIFE I NOW AM MORE INTEREST IN BOOKS THEN EVER BEFORE.THE BOOK'S AN OUTSTANDING AND VERY OPEN.I WANTED TO READ IT AGAIN BUT I WILL NOT FELL THE SAME BECAUSE I KNOW THE FULL STORY.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.