By the time he's 7, Eddie and his mother have been locked in an apartment in the north of England by abusive drunk Bryce Harris for four years.
After a neighbor spots him through a window, the police free them: a pale, terrified white boy and his shell of a mother. Through gentle care from foster parents and, eventually, adoptive parents, he starts feeling safe. Thanks to a healthy start in life and videotapes of a Mr. Rogers–type children's show he played repeatedly while he was captive, he seems to transcend his experiences, but he has large social and intellectual gaps, which make him a little odd to others. He can seem fine, then something will throw him into primal terror, and he'll have to work hard to get back on solid footing. During a school trip as a teenager, he sees himself digitally aged into his abuser—Harris—and he's into a spiral that endangers both his good life and his very sense of self. Fine takes Eddie from childhood into his teens, carefully developing each new relationship. Particularly well realized is the love between Eddie and his adoptive sister, who can become furious at each other without threatening their bedrock bond. Fine's smart, emotional prose has an unmistakable English rhythm. Alternating narration among Eddie and the many adults in his new life, Fine echoes techniques from the best film documentaries.
A powerhouse of a story about a boy who survives. (Fiction. 14-18)