Shortlisted for the Young Minds Book Award 2010
Full of insight, this is a deeply moving story about how a child handles a parent with a serious problem.
Leo’s life with his father is a mess but there is no way Leo is going to let anyone know that. As much as possible he covers up for his father’s drinking, just as his father tries to cover it up to Leo after losing control so many times. But Leo needs a space to escape; he needs his dreams and hopes so that he can escape from home and can get away from his horrible teacher.
David Yelland handles the many strands of Leo’s life deftly making this far more than a story about a problem.
'It had happened again. Dad had shouted and yelled, thrown things and smashed things up. And then he had quietly cleaned everything away'.
Leo's dad has changed. Since Mum died, his drinking is worse and now he's a different person, someone Leo doesn't recognize. The truth is that Leo is covering up for him and when things get bad Leo escapes into his own head, pretending everything's OK. Things need to change, but what can Leo do? No one understands, except maybe his friend Flora. Leo wants his old dad back so they can be happy again - because Dad is all he has left...
Review of ‘The Truth About Leo’ by Books for Keeps [4 stars]
Living with an alcoholic dad, the violence, the emotional and social deprivations and the theatrical pretence that has to be maintained that all is as it should be, are at the core of this deeply moving novel from the former editor of the Sun.
Leo is coping alone; he feels let down by his gran; school fails to see what he is dealing with and his abusive doctor dad is clever at covering his booze-soaked tracks, at making his son feel like the guilty one. As though this isn’t enough, Leo’s adored mother died of cancer and no emotional support is forthcoming to fill the void. Only one person seems to empathise and that’s a schoolgirl friend, who has been around the alcoholic parent track herself.
There’s a deal of misery and destructive behaviour here that Yelland describes from personal experience. Now he can see all this from the victim’s perspective and that makes for a touching, compelling read for sensitive readers.
|Publication date:||1st April 2010|
|Publisher:||Puffin Books an imprint of Penguin Books Ltd|
|Suitable for:||11+ readers, 13+ readers|
|Other Categories:||All Shortlists and Winners|
David Yelland was born in Harrogate, Yorkshire. He has worked in journalism for many years and was Editor of The Sun from 1998 to 2003. In 2007, he was appointed a Life Patron of the NSPCC. He lives in Surrey with his son, Max.More About David Yelland
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