Neil Smith's Boo (2015)

Boo - Neil Smith

Much of the pleasure of Boo is derived from an unearthing of layers and interconnections, a gradual comprehension punctuated by a sly sense of humour viewed through the slats.


"Do you ever wonder, dear Mother and Father, what kind of toothpaste angels use in heaven? I will tell you. We use baking soda sprinkled on our toothbrushes. It tastes salty, which comes as no surprise because baking soda is a kind of salt known as sodium bicarbonate."


Certainly, our narrator Boo is a curious and bookish sort: one of the first things he notices when he reaches the afterlife is what book the girl in a swivel chair is reading (Brown Girl, Brownstones).


[Our author, Neil Smith, is a bookish sort too; his allusions to works as diverse as Paula Danziger's and Madeleine L'Engle's novels make for many delightful moments of recognition for readers who will understand how perfectly these buildings and streets are named.]

*** This is an excerpt from a review which appears in full, here, on BuriedInPrint: a long and detailed review, because this is likely to appear on my list of favourite reads for this year.