Finders Keepers ISBN: 9781859028162
Published by Pont, 2000
Jamie discovers his bike has been stolen at the same time that he finds out his dad has run off with the local good-time girl. These two themes run through the book, and as the story is very much from Jamie's viewpoint, we see him coping with his mum's mood swings, her defensiveness and the terrible things she says about his dad. He really agrees with her, but doesn't like to hear her strident comments. His best friend Spike is supportive, and when Jamie discovers an abandoned bike in a neglected garden, Spike helps him take it and repair it, though Jamie feels guilty about taking something expensive that he has no right to. Really nasty school bullies come into the story, and Jamie must also cope with their jibes and violence, particularly after dad's girlfriend wins a million pounds on the lottery. The whole town now knows of dad's defection, and Jamie cannot forgive him. When the girlfriend abandons his dad and dad becomes a sad middle-aged loser, Jamie begins to learn something about love and families and relationships. Mum has meanwhile met someone else and is happier, and Jamie must accept that things will never be as they once were. Gritty and realistic in language and setting, the relationships are very believable and mirror what too often happens in unhappy families. Highly recommended.