Welcome to my stop on the 5 day mini blog blitz for A Song For Bill Robinson, courtesy of Rachel’s Random Resources.
Bill Robinson is an angry, reckless sixteen year old, who manages to put most people’s backs up, with the beginnings of an alcohol problem. He lives on the run down Holds End estate with his father, older brother and younger sister. He and his father always seemed to clash, both of them short tempered and lacking in patience. His mother left home to pursue her dreams of being a singer and worked on the cruise ships. Her leaving had hit Bill hard but he kept those feelings of resentment, helplessness and betrayal buried, telling himself and everyone else he doesn’t care.
Now Bill stared out at the night and knew everything had changed. That it had, in fact, been changing for a long time. His mother was gone, and a boy called Lewis Matthews was dead.
Shortly after the murder of Lewis Matthews, another 16 year old from the estate, Bill is in hospital after a severe beating from a gang of youths. He has his own idea of who was behind the attack and why, but can’t prove anything, even though someone has recorded the attack. Bill’s suspicions deepen about Lewis Matthews’ murder along with anger at the injustice. He can’t help feeling Charlie McDonnal, the local thug, has something to do with all the bad things that happen, and a growing hostility develops between them, each trying to outdo the other in counterstrokes.
There was trouble in the air. Something dark was rising out of the gutters and the shadows of the alleyways, with a glint in its eye and chaos in its mind. Everyone could feel it, and though they tried to shrug it off, it kept coming back to cloak them in uncertainty. Something new, yet as old as time.
Music and his love of singing plays a large part in Bill’s life, as does the local community centre where Bill and his friends hang out. The karaoke nights have been a huge success but now the community centre’s survival hangs in the balance, just as a singing competition is bringing in lots more people.
The story is written very well and life on the estate is depicted realistically with nicely developing characters, many of whom are struggling with personal issues and the emotions they evoke. There’s a definite sense of apprehension and impending trouble which builds as the story progresses and includes relevant themes such as violence, abuse and bullying and shows how easy it can be for young people to begin to become dependent on alcohol. Bill is a complex character with a complicated sense of family and with the added pressure of events around him, he uses alcohol as a prop. Sexuality and homophobia is also explored. Reading the story from the perspective of different characters allowed a good insight into their characters and feelings. Most story threads are resolved, but we’re left with a lead in to the next book in the series.
About the Book
The local community centre is fighting for survival and the murder of 15-year-old Lewis Matthews remains unsolved…
Wannabe teenage singer, Bill Robinson, just got out of hospital after surviving a vicious attack. He thinks he knows who attacked him…and why. When a violent feud escalates between him and local thug Charlie McDonnal, Bill vows to find the killer and help save the community centre by taking part in the local singing contest.
How can music bring a shattered community together? And can Bill keep his own demons at bay long enough to win the singing contest and find out who killed Lewis Matthews?