Indeed a strange but ultimately enjoyable book. It took about a third of the book for me to get into, not for the first time, but I always think it’s such a waste of precious time to start reading something and then not get the benefit of the whole story.
The story is of 10 year old child genius Saul Dawson-Smith who’s demanding but doting parents are living through him. He is on a never ending timetable of learning to enable him to enter world memory contests with other bored, brainy children who have zero play or ‘child’ time.
The other main character is Scottish, Howard who forms an unlikely friendship with Saul’s father at a hospital. Howard is looking out for Les Dawson-Smith’s mother after his own Mum has already passed away and because he seems to get on with Saul and clearly needs a break from his lonely life in a series of dead end low paid jobs, Mr Dawson-Smith asks him to relocate to London. In gratitude for this stranger looking after his mother, the plan is to find him work but in the meantime, he can help with Saul and the household chores alongside the uppity Mrs Dawson-Smith.
Throw in some Russian friends who are desperate for Howard to marry their friend back home so she can live in the UK legally and the fact that Saul and Howard end up on a road trip, running away from home for ‘respite’ as the genius boy child calls it, and we are in for an entertaining two thirds of a book.
Inspiration factor 7½/10