What I Was
Plume, Jan 2009, $15.00
H looks back over the decades to the moment that defined his life. His father determined that H was to attend St. Oswald’s on the East Anglia coast and dumps his teenage offspring there. Having a lot of freedom prior to the drop off, H struggled with the school’s rules and the decorum expected of him by his three roommates (Barrett, Gibbon and Reese).
Bored, the sixteen years old H wanders the nearby beach when he meets Finn, a squatter living in a ramshackle fisherman’s hut. Finn is beautiful and alive in spite of his being an orphan whose only companions are books and a cat. H and Finn become friends doing things together like fishing, sailing, and crab cooking. However, their idyll ended with death, scandal and a police inquiry. Now eight decades later, Finn returns to East Anglia JUST IN CASE he does not know.
This engaging character study starts off a bit slow as readers share the ennui engulfing Finn. However, once Finn and H become friends, the story line accelerates into a combination buddy-coming of age drama. Well written and insightful fans will appreciate Meg Rosoff’s fine tale of paradise found and paradise lost.