What I Did

What I Did

3.5 4
by Christopher Wakling
     
 

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“This is family life today at its most believable: warm and messy, bored and raging….I LOVED IT.”
—Emma Donoghue, author of the New York Times bestseller Room
 
What I Did by Christopher Wakling is a truly astonishing novel—the chronicle of a family crisis that is equal parts hilarity, poignancy,

Overview

“This is family life today at its most believable: warm and messy, bored and raging….I LOVED IT.”
—Emma Donoghue, author of the New York Times bestseller Room
 
What I Did by Christopher Wakling is a truly astonishing novel—the chronicle of a family crisis that is equal parts hilarity, poignancy, and horror, told in the singular voice of a most precocious youngster.  Room meets The Slap meets The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Wakling’s tour de force concerns one rash act that pitches a six-year-old boy and his hapless parents into the center of a social services maelstrom. What I Did is contemporary fiction at its most enthrallingly original—poignant, powerful, and extremely funny—a miraculous work that prompted London’s Daily Mail to declare it “the novel that should have won the Booker prize.”

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Wakling (Devil’s Mask) creates a memorable narrator in Billy, a precocious and headstrong British six-year-old who understands the world through nature shows. When Billy runs into a busy street, his father, fear turning to rage, spanks him before the eyes of a nosy jogger. The jogger promptly calls child services, beginning a terrifying odyssey in which concerned agents of the state try to protect the boy from what they see as an abusive father. Not comprehending the gravity of the situation, Billy makes comments that unintentionally incriminate his father and drive the entire family closer to the breaking point. Much in the vein of Atonement, a well-intentioned innocent threatens to destroy the people he loves most, and Wakling clearly takes a childlike delight in the language of his narrator. The book is filled with amusing catachreses (“test buds” for “taste buds,” for instance) that have an irresistible charm for the first hundred pages or so, after which the devices becomes irritating and the limited perspective hinders any larger point. But the novel is affecting, filled with many poignant scenes. Agent: Lisa Bankoff, ICM. (July)
Booklist
“Like Christos Tsiolkas’ The Slap, [WHAT I DID] documents one family’s attempt to copewith the aftermath of a public outburst and the failure of their own innocent attempts to put things right . . . an affecting, thought-provoking tale of parent-child relations.”
Irish Times
“A child’s view of the actions and attitudes of adults has seldom been so compellingly or tenaciously illustrated as by Wakling in this perfect little book.”
Daily Mail (London)
“Gripping, hilarious, tender and a whole lot more, this is, without doubt, one of the books of the year.”
Melbourne Age
“A powerful, poignant and funny novel, perched on the precarious line between protecting children and destroying families.”
The Independent
“Horribly plausible . . . [What I Did] brilliantly captures parent-child relations in the raw.”
Sunday Age (Melbourne)
“Wakling creates believable conflict from the everyday facts of a child going just too far and a parent losing it . . . The novel is a strong depiction of a family in crisis.”
The Guardian
“Amusing and unsettling . . . What I Did lets us into the mind of a child who is comically literal and utterly at sea in the world of adults.”
Mail on Sunday
“A powerful parable of 21st century society . . . a fine, challenging novel.”
Emma Donoghue
“This is family life today at its most believable: warm and messy, bored and raging, and above all, self-conscious. WHAT I DID is every parent’s nightmare, but will make you burst out laughing too. I loved it.”
Lisa Jewell
“I loved it! Staggeringly good. Terrifyingly good.”
Emily Barr
“Hugely impressive, gripping, funny and thought provoking.”
Alex Preston
“Excellent . . . Dark but uplifting.”

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780062121691
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
07/17/2012
Edition description:
Original
Pages:
288
Sales rank:
921,240
Product dimensions:
5.42(w) x 7.80(h) x 0.70(d)

Related Subjects

What People are saying about this

Alex Preston
“Excellent . . . Dark but uplifting.”
Emma Donoghue
“This is family life today at its most believable: warm and messy, bored and raging, and above all, self-conscious. WHAT I DID is every parent’s nightmare, but will make you burst out laughing too. I loved it.”
Emily Barr
“Hugely impressive, gripping, funny and thought provoking.”
Lisa Jewell
“I loved it! Staggeringly good. Terrifyingly good.”

Meet the Author

Christopher Wakling grew up in California and England. He won a scholarship to Oxford University and has since worked as a travel writer, farm hand, and litigator. He now lives in Bristol, England, with his wife and children. What I Did is his sixth book.

Customer Reviews

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What I Did 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
sewolf0310 More than 1 year ago
Written through the eyes of a six year old boy, who is well educated and mannered. He know how to greet someone properly, but like a typical six year old, immediately changes his thoughts and may start talking about dinosaurs. Also typical to a six year old, not everything a child hears is what they think they hear, for example, a nuclear threat becomes a new clear threat. What I Did is the story of what happens to Billy when he runs into the street and what happens to those around him, his family, his teachers, etc, and how others view the series of events. Very well written, even though there are no chapters. The story flows nicely. Humor through the eyes of a child and heart felt through the eyes of adults. A must read for all.
MomsChoiceAwards More than 1 year ago
What I did is a recipient of the prestigious Mom's Choice Award. The Mom’s Choice Awards honors excellence in family-friendly media, products and services. An esteemed panel of judges includes education, media and other experts as well as parents, children, librarians, performing artists, producers, medical and business professionals, authors, scientists and others. A sampling of the panel members includes: Dr. Twila C. Liggett, ten-time Emmy-winner, professor and founder of PBS’s Reading Rainbow; Julie Aigner-Clark, Creator of Baby Einstein and The Safe Side Project; Jodee Blanco, New York Times best-selling Author and; LeAnn Thieman, motivational speaker and coauthor of seven Chicken Soup For The Soul books. Parents and educators look for the Mom’s Choice Awards seal in selecting quality materials and products for children and families.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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KrittersRamblings More than 1 year ago
Check out the full review at Kritters Ramblings A book narrated by a six year old that took a few pages for me to get into the way he was sharing the story. He starts his story running into the street and being reprimanded by his father in front of a stranger and the story kind of goes down hill from there.