Having run out of time for Dave Cousins’ first book, 15 Days Without a Head, I didn’t want to risk the same thing happening with Waiting for Gonzo. And here I am, writing about it, so you know I didn’t.
It is very funny, and in the end I enjoyed it a lot. But to begin with I got annoyed with Oz, who seemed to manage to do more than his fair share of stupid-cum-funny things. I felt he should be more considerate, but I worked out that he was, actually. He’s just rather clumsy and acts before thinking.
Oz is a London teenager who moves to the middle – or even to the side of the middle – of nowhere with his family. He doesn’t understand the locals, nor they him. He embarrasses the first friend he makes, and becomes the enemy of the next schoolmate he encounters out of hours.
He causes his mother to be injured, and when he reads his older sister’s text messages he finds out she is pregnant.
So he’s not doing well. The book consists of Oz talking to his future nephew, Gonzo. Sometimes Gonzo talks back.
Oz might be stupid, and acts too soon, but he loves little Gonzo, and he wants to help his sister. He also wants to help his new friend by introducing him to ‘real’ music. And one of the neighbours appears to be a mafia boss. Maybe.
He’s clumsy, but with a kind heart, deep down. Gonzo will be fine, if only he would emerge and help the family make peace with each other. This is a perfect book for young boys who aren’t as hard as they would like to seem.