A best friend can sometimes be the only thing that helps a person make it from one day to the next, especially in troubled times.
Dougie has a best friend named Andy and he lives next door. They’ve been friends for practically forever. They grew up together. They’re different in ways. Andy is on the football team and is in school plays. Dougie likes to build model railroads. He’s building a very large model railroad in his basement. He’s making a replica of the Golden Gate Bridge with match sticks. He cuts the phosphorous tip off first.
Dougie isn’t doing so well. He goes to see a psychologist every week. He doesn’t think it’s helping. He likes to look at a girl in school, a little too much. His parents say he’s talking to himself, but he’s actually talking to Andy. They talk through their open windows across the empty space between their houses. Andy and Dougie do everything together, but they don’t like to talk about what happened at the Tuttle place.
Andy has more and more trouble. He gets in trouble with the police one night. He narrowly escapes being charged as a peeping tom. He gets beat up the next day at school. He’s quite upset that his tormentors aren’t in jail for jumping him. His lunch period gets changed, but that’s ok because it’s with Andy now, even if people do look at him strange as they sit together.
Andy always seems to be around, but no one else ever seems to see Andy, not since the Tuttle place.
What I liked
This book is clever and I liked it. It had a mystery. It had a bit of an eerie factor. It had a mental illness. It had a question of whether it was all real or not. Sometimes that’s what makes the best story. If you can’t be for certain that it all ever actually happened the writer has done a good job of writing the story. Did this actually happen? Is this person actually real? Is the time correct? Is there a ghost? Is this all mental? Sometimes the best books leave you with more questions than you started out with. Books don’t always have to set out giving you answers.
This reminds me of something I recently read about The Simpsons. I have been a Simpsons fan for most of my life. I like the show. I’m not a die-hard fan, but I like to watch it. I think it’s funny at times and clever at others. I also just really like cartoons. There is a fan theory going around that Homer has been in a coma for the past twenty-two years or so. All of the stuff that has happened has been inside his head. That’s why Homer can go to the moon or meet all the celebrities he meets. You have to admit that Homer meets an awful lot of celebrities for a normal guy. That’s probably not what the writers of the show intend, but you have to admit that it’s tantalizing. Why couldn’t that be the case?
What I didn’t like
If you’re a regular reader, you’ll probably figure out the mystery in this whole thing half-way through the book, at least I did. I really liked what Pete did with this book, but I don’t like that I figured it out, but honestly, that’s nothing on Pete. I’m almost super-human/super-villainous/super-hero in the way I can figure out stories. Most stories I have figured out before the end, so Pete tried very valiantly to foil me, but he did not succeed. He did the right things though. He led people along. He kept mentioning the Tuttle place, but never actually explained anything about it until near the end of the book. Pete also uses a heck of a lot of foreshadowing in his book. The thing that binds both Andy and Dougie together is mentioned over and over and over again in the book. Ok, we get it, something with X element happened that involved both Andy and Dougie. I still liked the book though.
I liked this book enough that I would read more of Pete’s books.
Ghost story or mental illness story, or both?
Do you believe the idea of mastering something that once scared you and becoming obsessed with it is a good idea? Is the obsession preferable to the fear?