A BOY LIKE WALT by Dorothy Glewes


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It's a case study of the British lower class on the way up in London--Walt a contradiction, grasping but charming, mean yet able to love, an amoral thief with some honesty in him--but unfortunately it reads like a case study. Asides follow each line of dialogue, slowing the pace and annoying the reader; moral points are summed up; the climax turns into an object-lesson in the value of obeying the law. If the story had been told in a bare, non-didactic style, it could have easily conveyed its message. Trevor, the naive son of indifferent parents, admires Walt, an unscrupulous loner but basically a good boy, and Norma, whose father pushes the children to move up in the world, is in love with him. Walt uses Trevor, they steal some small things, then they steal a car. In the back seat is a little kid who brings them to their senses, Norma is fetched, the kid and car returned, and a light sentence imposed on the boys. Running cross-current is Ted, Norma's brother, cheating his way to the top through the real estate business, bringing home an upper-class girl just when he is Found out. A motorcycle gang that Walt, Trevor, and Norma want to belong to is forgotten in favor of love and friendship. A fine plot, but the narrative obstructs enjoyment and turns it into a lecture. Too bad

Pub Date: April 1st, 1967
Publisher: Coward-McCann