You never know where you are with Frank Cottrell Boyce. And then again, you know precisely where. His new book The Un-forgotten Coat reads like it’s true. And if it weren’t for the little details that are almost too good and too funny and too much FCB, you’d think he was telling a ‘real’ story.
He originally wrote the book in support for The Reader Organisation, and now it’s been published for general reading by Walker Books. It’s something as unlikely as a story about two Mongolian boys on the outskirts of Liverpool, and about the coat that one of them wore.
The two Mongolian brothers simply turned up at school one day, and their tale is told by Julie, the girl they chose to be their Good Guide. As usual with FCB, the story is both hilarious and quite sad.
The sense of reality is strengthened by the use of Polaroid pictures, which the boys take wherever they go. They have pictures to show how they fled Mongolia by walking along a railway line. There are photos to show what Mongolia looks like.
A demon is hunting the younger of the boys, and needs to be outwitted so they are not found. There are yurts when you most need them.
And there is the fear of being found and being sent back to Mongolia.
The Un-forgotten Coat is sweet and funny and absolutely irresistible. It’s childhood described as though we all had Mongolian friends at school when we were eleven.
In fact, maybe we did.