These are a few excerpts from the book. I hope you like them.
“Let’s see you shut it now, William. You must always remember to shut every gate.” Willie hurriedly closed it with a crash. “Put the bolt through.” He did so. “Good.” Willie stood stunned for a moment, for he had never been praised by anyone ever.
There are quite a few tender ‘first’ times for Willie and they come so suddenly and so unexpectedly that they just touch you with a little sadness and then disappear.
A pile of comics caught
Willie’s eye. Tom glanced at him.
“One candy and one comic,” he said sharply. “Choose.”
Willie was stunned.
“Don’t you hurry, sonny,” said the old lady kindly. “You jes’ takes yer time.” She pointed up at some of the many jars. “We got boiled ones, fruit drops, farthin’ chews, mints, there’s lollies, of course. They’s popular. There’s strawberry, lemon, lime and orange.”
Tom was annoyed at the long silence that followed and was just about to say something when he caught sight of Willie’s face.
Willie swallowed hard. He’d never been asked to choose anything ever.
“A lolly, please, Miss,” he said at last.
He frowned and panicked for a moment. “Strawberry,” he answered huskily.
The old lady opened the jar and handed one to him. It was wrapped up in black-and-white-striped paper and twisted like a unicorn’s horn.
“Now what comic would you like, dear?”
Willie felt hopeless. What use would a comic be to him—he wouldn’t be able to understand the words. He loved the colors, though, and the pictures looked so funny and exciting. He glanced up at Tom.
“I can’t read, Mister Tom.”
“I know that,” he replied shortly, “but I can, after yer Bible.”
Willie turned back to look at the comics, so that he missed the surprised expression on Tom’s face. The words had leapt out of his mouth before he had had a chance to stop them. He felt a mixture of astonishment at himself and irritation that his rigid daily routine was going to be broken after forty undisturbed years. Willie at last chose a comic with his lolly, and Tom paid for them. It was his first comic. His hands shook as he held it.
This is the beginning of the beautiful relationship between William and Mr. Tom. Although reluctant at first, the kind Mr. Tom eventually gives him his grumpy ways and becomes the loving human being that he truly is. A marvelous metamorphosis.
Willie lay in bed that night, tired and aching, but the aches were very pleasant ones and as he slept he dreamed that Adam and Eve were being chased by a large whale and that he stood in the garden of Eden wondering if God was nubbly and ate infinite sauce and sagacity.
Haha! Such an evocative and clever line.
Mrs. Fletcher looked steadily into his eyes. His forehead had lost its furrowed look. The deep pitted wrinkles above his eyes had softened outwards. Behind his scowling manner was a kindly old man, and if it hadn’t been for the arrival of a rather insipid little boy, she might never have known, nor might anyone else for that matter.
The villagers noticing the change in Mr. Tom’s demeanor. Seeing a side of Mr. Tom that they never knew even existed!
How could anyone not want to live, thought Will, when there were so many things to live for? There were rainy nights and wind and the slap of the sea and the moon. There were books to read and pictures to paint and music.
From being a forlorn and timid little boy, William grows into a fine young man with an incredible zest for life.
Will swallowed a few mouthfuls of tea and put some fresh coke on the stove fire. As he observed it tumbling and falling between the wood and hot coke, it occurred to him that strength was quite different from toughness, and that being vulnerable wasn’t the same as being weak.
He looked up at Tom and leaned forward in his direction.
“Dad,” he ventured.
“Yes,” answered Tom, putting down his library book. “What is it?”
“Dad,” repeated Will, in a surprised tone, “I’m growing!”