This heart-warming book is inspired by the author’s own son who has a stammer. The protagonist is instantly likeable and his story rolls along at a merry pace. There’s the inevitable school bully to dodge and a ‘will he or won’t he’ storyline climaxing at the school talent show, along with plenty of intriguing and original characters making up the wider cast. Mr Osho is that teacher we’d all love to have, running a lunchtime jazz club that starts out just being a safe haven for misfits but becomes the coolest place to hang out.
Particularly powerful is the way Billy observes the different ways people react when they encounter someone who stammers. The narrative ably avoids being one-sided, alluding to different experiences of stammering and never suggesting there’s a miracle ‘cure’ or a one-size-fits-all strategy. The author also touches sensitively on bereavement and bullying and ensures plenty of humour, appropriately launching each new chapter with a joke.
An accessible and feel-good story, with an authentic voice.