I've got another book single from the short end of the short story/novella spectrum of Galley Beggar's Singles Club on my list today (doesn't 'Singles Club' sound a bit like a dating thing? But then again, how better to meet someone than over a book or story? There might be something in this...): Best Friend peeks into the psychological cosmos of children and their acute sense for loyalty.
The story of Bobby and Jay explores the rather paradoxical tos and fros of one of the most important questions for kids - "who's your best friend?". Bobby is sure that he and Jay are best friends; after all, they explore Hackney Marshes together and dream of living in the wild in a shed made of sticks - and that's clearly something only best friends could pull off together. However, when Jay doesn't come to school for quite some time, Bobby finds himself strangely reluctant to go and see what has become of his best friend. Since it's actually a bit tricky to sum up without major spoilers what happens when Jay eventually comes back, let's just say that although they continue to hang out with each other, something's gone missing from their friendship.
What's great about this story is that we as readers are so close to Bobby's confusion as he tries to grasp what has happened and grapples with accepting his own role in the events. The limited perspective of the child makes us share Bobby's insecurity and horror, and leaves all the 'adult' work of judging his behaviour to the reader. Nice one!
Book Single information:
Best Friend, by Samuel Wright. Published by Galley Beggar Press, 2013. 7pp. GBP 1.