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The Boy in the Book by Nathan Penlington

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Remember that must have series of books from the 1980’s, The Choose Your Own Adventure series? Nathan Penlington was scanning Ebay and noticed a set of the first 106 books for sale, he bid for them on a whim fuelled by nostalgia. The books, however, had a story to tell – of the boy who had owned them, and through notes scribbled in the books and page margins a story evolved of a sad and lonely boy. Nathan Penlington decided to track down what became of this unhappy boy to find an end to the story and to see if he had Chosen his Own Adventure in the end.

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The Boy in the Book by Nathan Penlington

When Nathan discovered a job lot of the first 106 adventures for sale on eBay, there was never any question that he would place a bid. When the books arrived, he lost himself in the old adventures. Yet, as he flicked through the pages, there was another story being written. In the margins of each book were the scribblings of the little boy who had once owned them, a little boy by the name of Terence John Prendergast. Terence wrote jokes and hints for adventurers following the same stories as him. More troubling, among the notes were intimations of a tormented childhood: of the boys and teachers who bullied him; of the things he hated about himself and had to improve; of his thoughts of suicide and his desperate need to find friends, be liked, and find somebody - anybody - to confide in. THE BOY IN THE BOOK is Nathan's poignant recreation of the discovery of the fragments of Terence Prendergast's diary, his quest to find the lost boy, and the friendship that resulted from their first meeting. In doing so, Nathan is forced to examine his own childhood - and, as his relationship with Terence deepens, he begins to believe that the two men are not so different, and to reflect on the darkness that can exist in childhood.


'A charming read, a lot of which will no doubt have you nodding along in reminiscent agreement. Particularly if you were born in the 80s.' judgingcovers.co.uk 'If you have a love of books and the escape they can give you, its an absolute must' Liz Loves Books 'An incredibly moving book which reflects the way many of us feel during childhood and demonstrates that things do get better.' Mrs Holpepper: Bookworm 'An epic journey full of charm and wit,' Books with bunny 'A complete charmer ... A touching and intriguing story of books and how the teen years can make or break the man.' ted-reader

About the Author

Nathan Penlington has solidified his reputation as a poet, performer and writer of great note by performing alongside Stewart Lee, Daniel Kitson, Ricky Gervais and John Cooper Clarke. His most recent show, Uri and Me, toured the United Kingdom to fantastic reviews in 2011, and he is currently promoting his Choose Your Own Documentary show, itself based on the discoveries of THE BOY IN THE BOOK; that show ran at the Southbank Centre.

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Book Info

Publication date

12th February 2015


Nathan Penlington

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Headline Book Publishing an imprint of Headline Publishing Group


320 pages


Literary Fiction
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