Thursday, 14 January 2016

The Boy Who Sailed the Ocean in an Armchair by Lara Williamson captured my heart

The Boy Who Sailed the Ocean in an ArmchairTitle: The Boy Who Sailed The Ocean in an Armchair
Series: N/A
Author: Lara Williamson
Genre: Middle-Grade, Contemporary
Publication: October 1st 2015, Usborne Publishing
Pages: 336 Pages, Paperback
Rating: 4.5/5 CUPCAKES!
Source: Thank you to Usborne Publishing for sending me this book in exchange for a review. This has in no way affected my opinion of the novel.
Becket has no idea why his dad takes him and his brother Billy to a new home in the middle of the night. But he's determined to find out.
So Becket sets out on a journey of discovery with Billy, a snail called Brian and a Jedi Knight. It's not plain sailing but then what journeys ever are?
An extraordinary story of courage, dreams and finding your way, from the bestselling author of A Boy Called Hope.

I'm not sure what grabbed my attention first when I saw this book, perhaps it was the enchanting title or perhaps the cover that promised me a heartwarming, endearing story or the synopsis that drew me in immediately. Or perhaps it was all three. All I know was that I was beyond excited for this book and my heightened expectations were met and even exceeded. The Boy Who Sailed the Ocean in an Armchair was part heartbreaking, part whimsical and fully and completely breathtaking.

The Boy Who Sailed the Ocean in an Armchair centers around ten year old Becket, his seven year old brother Billy and Billy's pet snail, Brian. Billy and Becket are upset and confused when their dad packs their furniture up and whisks them away in the dead of the night, away from their home and their almost-second-mother, Pearl. They are furious with their dad and are determined to find their way back to Pearl and back to their home. Along the way they form a detective agency, meet a delightful cast of characters, grieve, believe and discover that just because someone's gone doesn't necessarily mean it's something as permanent as goodbye.

If I somebody asked me what I loved most about this book, the only possible answer would be everything. I fell in love with this book in the best way possible: from the very first page, a love that surmounted throughout the story until by the end of the last page my heart was exploding with love for this book. I fell in love with the authentic, charismatic characters that have taken up a space in my heart, the witty, scrumptious writing and the meaningful, insightful lessons intertwining this delectable delight, making it a perfect read.

I'll start with the characters as, even after days later, my mind still wanders to them. I loved Becket. I loved his honesty, his snark and the perfect way the author captured the coinciding natures of childhood imagination and curiosity as well as the questions and complex thoughts that accompany those nearing the cusp of adolescence. He just felt so real and was written with so much depth. I found it fascinating how he read medical books and how he wanted to be a doctor and how incredibly smart he was, but it was never unrealistic. He was still quite naive and innocent especially with some of the situations he was faced with and I think that proves what exceptional talent Lara Williamson, to write a character so brilliantly and capture the genuine voice of a child. Reading this book took me back to when I was 10 and it was like being able to rekindle the friendship with my childhood which takes a special sort of novel to accomplish.

I also ADORED Billy, Becket's little brother. He was written so magnificently. He was innocent and imaginative and said exactly what was on his mind and I loved his character. Billy, broke my heart though, he really did. He often wondered whether it was his fault that people left them and he wondered if it was all his fault that his mother died (she passed away during childbirth due to an illness she had) and it tore my heart apart that such a loving, kind, imaginative child could wonder if it was doing that people left them. I just wanted to both grab him and Becket into a massive hug and protect them from the evils of the world. I too loved Billy's friendship with Brian the snail, who has the most personality I've ever seen in a snail before!

Another thing that made me feel warm and fuzzy inside was Becket and Billy's relationship. It was - like everything else - written marvelously and so genuinely. Becket and Billy are brothers, they bicker, the tease each other, at times they think the other is the stupidest creature to ever walk the earth, but they are also unafraid to show each other how much they love and deeply care for the other. I really appreciated that Becket went along with his brother and Brian's shenanigans, the way he allowed Billy's imagination to run wild and set his free as well to run alongside his little brother's. I loved the scenes where Becket would take care of Billy and try to protect him from the monsters that were starting to reveal themselves in this world. It was beautiful, truly. 

The other characters were written extremely well too! Every single character in this book had a unique character with interesting backstories interwoven throughout the novel. I loved that. I loved how Lara Williamson made these characters feel so real, it's one of those books where you can picture the characters existing right now, in this world, doing extraordinary things and I find that truly magical. I adored the secondary characters. I loved Cat (my favorite besides Becket and Billy), she was so kind and supportive and I really hope she'll be a constant figure in the boys' lives. I also adored Nevaeh and the faith she had in the world, as well as Knuckles who loved his father and believed in him despite everything. The relationships in this book were written so incredibly brilliant and it was so heartfelt. 

That's something else that I loved about this book, was the tenacity and faith the Becket and his friends had. They all had experienced their fair share of difficulties and heartbreak but they never stopped believing, they never lost their belief that things will get better and that really spoke to me. Even though they had times where they doubted themselves and the things they thought they knew, they held onto hope, they saw magic in the world around them instead of allowing themselves to be plagued by the calamities around them. We could all learn to be a little bit more like the characters in this book.

The Boy Who Sailed the Ocean in an Armchair captured my heart from the first page and still hasn't relinquished its grip. The writing was simple, yet touching, the most exquisite writing of all. This book took me back to how it feels to be ten years old, it taught me to never lose faith, to view the world in a magical light, to believe in miracles...and it taught me that just because someone leaves, doesn't mean you have to ever say goodbye to them. The Boy Who Sailed the Ocean in an Armchair had me laughing out loud, it had tears gathering in the corners of my eyes and it had my heart filling itself with love for this book. It's a magical gem of a novel and I highly advise you to read this book so you can fall in love with it just as I have.

I give it: 4.5/5 CUPCAKES!




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