From Goodreads: “Matthew, they thought, was just going through a phase of talking to himself. And, like many parents, they waited for him to get over it, but it started to get worse. Matthew’s conversations with himself grew more and more intense – it was like listening to one end of a telephone conversation while someone argued, cajoled and reasoned with another person you couldn’t hear. Then Matthew started doing things he couldn’t do before, like counting in binary-code mathematics. So he told them about Chocky – the person who lived in his head.”
Oh this was really good! What seemed like a simple tale of a boy and his imaginary friend became quite involved by the end.
At the beginning I thought it was just a simple story about of a family struggling with their son’s behaviour. He started talking to himself, but not just talking, arguing with himself. At first they put it down to an made up friend, just like his younger sister had had, and they think it will blow over in a few months. However when they start getting visits from his teachers about how his aptitude is changing, they realise that something is not quite right. After a near fatal incident happens and the press get involved, they decide that they need to get professional help for their son.
I loved the way John Wyndham told this story, from the Dad’s point of view. He’s looking back on how Chocky came to live with their son, or was it ‘in’ their son? I loved the mystery of not knowing who Chocky really was until the very end of the book, though I did have an inkling about where the story might be headed.
This didn’t come across as a horror story to me at all but like sci-fi, maybe when it was published back in 1968 it was more of a horror story. I loved the author’s really interesting views about the way the earth’s resources were used for power and technology, especially in light of our climate emergency today; he was certainly way ahead of his time.
Daniel Weyman is a ‘new-to-me’ narrator and he was fantastic at the different characters, bringing this short audiobook to life perfectly. I’ll definitely be looking out for anything narrated by him in the future.
I definitely recommend this one if you enjoy horror/sci-fi books.