In the bleak winter term, of 1954 something terrible happened at Kirkston Abbey for boys. Now, more than forty years later, journalist Tim Webber thinks he’s found the key to uncovering the truth. But is he prepared to live with the consequences…?
Strong blurb, don’t you think?
I read a review of this book long time ago, couldn’t remember where, all I can remember was that the reviewer thought that The Wishing Game was a great book. When I saw the book on secondhand bookstore, the memory of that review hit me right away. Without thinking I bought the book. I am glad I bought the book
The Wishing Game (also called Something Dangerous, I don’t know why it has 2 titles but I like The Wishing Game more) by Patrick Redmond centered on a fourteen year old boy named Jonathan Palmer and his charismatic new best friend Richard Rokeby…and I am in love with Richard Rokeby!! He is the reason why I think this book is great.
For me, great book depends on two things, great story or great character! Some books have amazing story but forgettable characters while others have ordinary story but incredibly well built character…I like them both. What The Wishing game has is great character and great story … unfortunately, the ending is not satisfying.
The story began with a reporter named Tim Webber who had an interview with an old man regarding a terrible incident which took place in 1954. At first, the old man wasn’t sure but he finally convinced and spell it all out. That was the prologue, what comes next is the real story…but it wasn’t told in first person kind of way because, obviously, Redmond didn’t want us to guess who the old man was.
Jonathan Palmer was a fourth year student who hated his school, for him the boarding school for boys Kirkston Abbey was nothing but a prison. He was good at history but terrible at Latin, to make matter worse his Latin teacher, Mr. Ackerley often made him translated the toughest sentence. He was a weak boy but not yet became the object of constant bullying by the toughest gang in his class, James Wheatley’s gang.
Jon’s fate was about to change when Ackerley made him sit next to Richard Rokeby. Richard was a boy who minded his own business and had no interest with everyone around him. His attitude gave him strong charisma adored by many pupils…he also adored by me. The moment his character was introduced, I immediately fell in love with this kid. I tend to like annoying character with strong personality. Rokeby had a way to annoy people around him, especially teachers. I like the way he spoke so politely but full of poison ready to kill the person he was talking to.
Here’s a quote of Rokeby and Ackerley’s early conversation (I cut the description of the class because I only wanted to share the conversation)
Richard Rokeby turned away from the window and towards Mr. Ackerley. ‘Sir?’
‘Rokeby, forgive me for disturbing you. Would you do us the great honour of translating sentence five, or would you prefer to continue watching the groundmens marking out the pitch?’
‘I’d rather watch the groundmens sir.’
‘Pardon?’ said Mr. Ackerley who clearly thought that he’d misheard.
‘I said I’d rather watch the groundmens, sir.’
Mr. Ackerley’s eyes widened. The smile faded from his face. ‘Are you trying to be funny?’ he demanded.
Richard Rokeby seemed unconcerned at the prospect of bad weather. ‘I’m answering your question, sir,’ he replied coolly. ‘I assumed that that’s what you wanted me to do. Otherwise, why would you ask it?’
I have less love toward Jon even though he was the main character.
Wheatley wanted Rokeby to be his friend, he also thought Rokeby was very cool…but Rokeby always brushed him off. Meanwhile, Jonathan managed to be friend with Richard after they were forced to sit together. Out of jealousy seeing how Jon could hang out with Richard while he didn’t…he made fun of Jon and bullied him.
The bullying made Jon and Richard even closer. But their friendship was destructive, at least on Jon’s part. If you are homophobic (fortunately I never mind such relationship), you might get annoyed with how close the two was … they’re not gay but they were so close you might mistake it for that kind of love.
The door of Richard Rokeby’s study was bolted. Richard and Jonathan lay on the bed, staring up the ceiling. Richard’s arm was draped around Jonathan. Jonathan’s head rested on Richard’s shoulder. A companionable silence existed between them.
Jon soon learned that Richard was very possessive, what he was willing to do just to keep Jon to himself terrified Jon.
‘You’re the only person in this world who matters to me and no one is ever going to hurt you. I’ll kill anyone who tries’
These two boys’ interaction is the best side of this book…however, The Wishing Game also shares stories of some of the teachers which in the end connect to Jon and Richard.
As I have said before…despite the fact that many readers in Goodreads tend to like it…the ending was not satisfying for me. Maybe I had TOO high expectation as I love the book more every time I turned the page. I thought the ending was forced too much, it felt like Redmond wanted it to have twist end but he did it too much and too out of context.
But…overall, I still love this book…thanks to Richard’s character.
Title: The Wishing Game
Author: Patrick Redmond
Pages: 404 pages
Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton
This is my fourth entry for R.I.P Challenge, first entry for Peril The Second.
Have you read this book? What do you think of the ending?