Wednesday, September 26, 2012

How the Trouble Started; Robert Williams

Author:  Robert Williams
Publication Year: 2012
Publisher: Faber and Faber
Edition: eGalley
Setting:  UK
Source: NetGalley
Date Completed: September/2012
Rating: 4/5 
Recommend: yes
I had a feeling this coming-of-age story was going to be an addictive read from the very first paragraph, which begins like this..... 
"The police were involved over the trouble.  They had to be.  But I didn't think of them as the police at first.  As an eight-year-old boy I expected uniforms, flashing lights and handcuffs.  Speeding cars and the glimpse of a gun.  Instead there was this woman in a business suit who drove a grey car slowly and always smelt of coffee.  She told me to call her Tracy, but I never called a grown-up by their first name before and couldn't bring myself to do it.  I tried, but it felt as impossible as saying 'fuck' in front of my mum, or jumping off a wall that was too high.  I teetered on the edge a few times but my brain wouldn't make my mouth form the correct shape and I ended up calling her 'Miss' instead.  'Tracy', she said, the first few times, but after a while she shook her head and gave up."

Early on the reader is pulled into the story, anxious to find out what terrible event occurred in Bowlend Fells, when Donald Bailey was just eight years-old.  We learn the "trouble" involved a little boy from the neighborhood who was just two years old at the time.  The story is told by Donald, now 16, and bit by bit we learn about the turmoil that filled his young life, and what made him an odd-duck, an outcast among his peers.  As a result of the constant taunts and cruel remarks Donald and his mother faced, she found it necessary for them to move to another town for a start fresh where no one will know either of them.
After the move, life does not magically become better in their new neighborhood. Lonely and conflicted over "the trouble" that has haunted them all these years, he spends much of his free time at the library after school. It is there that Donald befriends a young boy named Jake. A boy he tries look out for and protect as his mother is other away. Jake is half of Donald's age, and before long "trouble" has found Donald once again.
How the Trouble Started was an really addictive read.  Even though I was a bit disappointed by how the story ended, the author did a terrific job on building suspense and engaging the reader. Donald was a terrific narrator and my heart went out to him throughout this well-done coming-of-age tale. This is a book that should appeal to both YA and adult readers.  If you plan to read this one, you might want to avoid reading other reviews as I think several give out "too much information".  Overall it's a very good story, try it.


  1. It sounds addictive - I would need to know what the trouble was.

  2. I am having a feeling I have seen this one...the F word sticks in my mind!

  3. Sounds very interesting! One for the wish list. =)

  4. I just read The Little Friend which has something of this story - I think the coming of age part was similar in that one as well. This sounds good.

  5. Does sound intriguing. Glad you liked it for the most part even though the ending was a little disappointing.

  6. I am trying t imagine what "the trouble" is, and am very curious about this one now. It sounds excellent, and I am going to be adding it to my wish list. Very nice review! I am glad you went ahead with this one!

  7. Hi Diane,

    The mind works overtime imagining what trouble Donald is in with the police, this is definitely a real page-turner by the sounds of it, especially when it looks as though Donald has befriended a second boy and the trouble seems about to start again!

    Robert Williams is a new to me author, however when I checked him out, I found out about the previous book he had published, called 'Luke and Jon' and that also sounds like an engrossing and emotionally charged coming-of-age story.

    I have added them both to my wish list and thanks for not giving away too many spoilers in your perceptive review,


  8. This sounds so poignant. I'm a little nervous about it though.

  9. This one does sound interesting to me and one that I would try. I hate it when reviewers tell us too much information!! I want to find out all of that stuff for myself!

  10. Good to hear it was a satisfying read.


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