“The Goldfish Boy” by Lisa Thompson is about a boy called Matthew who has OCD. Matthew finds himself caught up in trying to solve the mystery disappearance of his neighbour’s grandson, Teddy. As Matthew spends a lot of his time recording what his neighbours do, he is ideally placed to work out what has happened to Teddy. But Matthew is fighting his own battles in his head. This book looks at what thoughts Matthew has and how they can hold him back. Will they stop him solving the mystery of little Teddy?
I really enjoyed this book and found it really easy to get into. The story was interesting and moved at a good pace. It kept me wanting to read to find out not only what happened to Teddy but what happened to Matthew too. Although Matthew has OCD relating to contamination and germs, it was made clear that OCD wasn’t just about the actions but the intrusive thoughts Matthew had as well. It looked at how Matthew’s thoughts impacted on his behaviour and led to compulsions as well as the root cause for it all.
The book looked at the treatment for OCD as well. This was good I thought as it showed how difficult it is to face a stranger and discuss what is going on in your mind when you are unwell. It showed that opening up takes time and there are many battles in treatment to overcome; it is not a magic cure.
Another thing I liked about the book was that it looked at the impact having a mental illness, such as OCD, has on the family around you. It showed how Matthew’s mum was desperate to do anything to help her son but did not know what to do do for the best, which is often the case. It also showed how difficult it can be to understand the mental illness from the other side, as Matthew’s dad struggled to cope with it. As well as this it showed the impact on his parents’ relationship and how that suffered because of Matthew’s OCD. This was very realistic to life as mental illness has such an impact on others.
This book was really good and really realistic about what having mental illness can be like. I would recommend it to anyone even though it is written as a children’s book. I think its very relatable and will reread it in the future.
If you have read this book let me know in the comments or on Twitter what your thoughts were.