Monday, February 21, 2022

“This Much Huxley Knows” by Gail Aldwin

Huxley Griffiths is a seven-year-old with an ability to play with words and expressions that turns playfulness into insight. “Brexit,” for example, becomes “Breaks-it.” Like most children, he hears and see far more than his parents or other adults expect. He’s bullied at school and gets into trouble for defending himself; yes, you shouldn’t bite but that can happen when you’re in a headlock. 

He's apperceptive child; he knows one friend is a close friend when they’re home but a distant acquaintance when they’re at school. He attends church with his mother but takes note of the fact his father doesn’t come with them. He also notes that his father tries to compete, usually unsuccessfully, with the father of his best friend. And he’s not sure what his mothers are up to with massaging things like stretchmarks. What are stretchmarks? 


And Huxley is trying to be a friend to Leonard, the older man who navigates via motorized mobility scooter, but it’s difficult. Leonard is bullied by teenagers and suspected of pedophilia by the adults. No one, except for Huxley, suspects Leonard is lonely and needs a friend.  


Gail Aldwin

Huxley is the central character of This Much Huxley Knows by British author Gail Aldwin. It’s the story of a boy trying to navigate an adult world, seeing and experiencing the stained relationship between his parents, looking for friends, trying to help an older man without his parents finding out, and stepping his way through school, an unsympathetic teacher, bullies, and fair-weather friends. And all he really wants is a baby brother or sister. 


Aldwin in a writer and poet living in Dorset in the United Kingdom. Her novels include The String Games and Pandemonium. She’s published a collection of short fiction, Paisley Shirt, and a poetry chapbook, adversaries / comrades. Her work has also been included in several anthologies.


This Much Huxley Knows is an engaging story of a boy who’s smarter than his years might indicate, a boy who’s looking for friendship and acceptance. And this story of a boy could stand as the story of all children and all adults, looking to find their place in the world. 

1 comment:

Gail Aldwin said...

Thank you so much for this thorough review, Glynn!