Louis Beside Himself is a breath of fresh air, an awesome novel featuring a male protagonist who just adores words.
Louis lives with his dad who is constantly trying, and failing, to instigate enthusiasm in Louis for wrestling – but it’s just not happening. Louis prefers being curled up with a book, or spending time writing in his note books.
One night a burglar in the shape of a runaway girl named Cordelia breaks in to Louis’ home. Louis listens to her story, and along with his friends agrees to help Cordelia by letting her stay in his tent. Singo provides a source of some of the humour thanks to his obsession with germs – inherited from his mum. Whilst Hassan, who seems to know just the right things to say, indirectly teaches Louis a few things too.
Cordelia also helps Louis with many things – finding his inner courage is one. The emotions relayed as Louis tries to find the right words when he is speaking to Cordelia acutely captures that early teenage angst, the struggle to become the person you know you are inside.
Louis Beside Himself develops at a fast pace as it hurtles towards the conclusion in which Louis finds himself playing a vital role.
Touches of humour produce an entertaining novel which also manages to cover friendships and family in a refreshing manner. Anna Fienberg has written a great novel which young boys in particular are sure to identify with.
Read My Book Corner’s interview with Anna Fienberg.