My Pal Spadger by Bill Naughton, a book review.

My Pal SpadgerMy Pal Spadger by Bill Naughton
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Every week, back when I was just a boy, I'd be dragged down to the local shopping center by my mum. Now, this place was called Huyton Village, but I've got to be honest, it didn't much resemble a village in the truest sense of the word. It was more like something the Northern Koreans would throw up if they had a few tons of concrete left over after, after knocking up a statue of one of their Dear Leaders.

back then, my now long departed mother would drag me to various places to pay bills (this was long before the world had heard of standing orders.) I would tag along occasionally complaining and dragging my feet until finally, just before she headed into the supermarket, she would deposit me at the library and tell me I had forty five minutes to go pick three books.

My time.

The best time.

Book time.

Left alone in library, wandering the aisles and staring up at the shelves, so many books, so little time, it was heaven. I'd normally pick two "wordy" books (what I called novels (come on! I was only eleven or twelve!)) and one factual book. I'd take them over with my red face, to the nice young lady I was too shy to talk to beyond: "These please" and "Thank you."

Once I had the books I'd scuttle off and sit on the wall outside, and wait for my mum so we could head home, and I could dive into the other-worlds I had in my bag.

One day, something special happened. Something so special, that even now, nearly forty years later, it still makes me smile and tingle a tiny bit.

One day, I met Spadger.

Oh what a book! I read it in one Sunday sitting, and then I read it again over the next couple of days, taking my time and swilling the words and the tales of boyhood joy, like they were the finest of wines I wasn't yet allowed to taste.

My Pal Spadger changed my life.

I read it, and I wanted to become a writer.

It was as simple as that.

Okay, it took me thirty five years to finally become that writer, but Spadger put me on the road I'm on today. So to Bill Naughton I say thank you, and to you I say if you have got kids, read them this book, so that in thirty years, they'll thank you too.


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