One line on page 79 is what did it for me. Matthew is watching the neighbor’s grandchildren playing outside. Casey, the little girl, has drowned her doll in a wading pool.
“She is one scary kid,” I said to the Wallpaper Lion.
Matty talks to a scrap of wallpaper, but he’s judging Casey? Excellent.
To Matty, world outside is maddening. His Wallpaper Lion and obsessive hand-washing make sense. Others in the neighborhood also have their quirks – Old Nina leaves a light on all the time, Melody saves notes to the dead and so on. It turns out, Matty understands more about what’s really going on than most of the neighbors do.
There are more moments like this throughout the book, moments when Matty calls out the crazy in other people while clinging to his own as if his beliefs are rational and the others aren’t. It’s done so well that you find you’ve entered into Matty’s world completely, and it does make sense. Maybe he’s on to something?
Take a look.
The Goldfish Boy by Lisa Thompson