My Name Is Leon by Kit de Waal is a marvellous debut novel that mesmerised me from the start.
The setting is Birmingham in 1981. I grew up near Birmingham so I know it well. Lots of memories from that time were ignited by the novel. I remember the hype around Charles and Diana’s wedding as well as the race riots. The novel had a very familiar feel to it for me.
The story is magnificently told from the point of view of nine year old Leon. We see the world through his eyes. It is a heart wrenching read as he and his baby brother end up in foster care but his brother white and is adopted. Leon is mixed race and isn’t. The reader feels his pain as his family is torn apart. We understand his anger and his fear of rejection, and his desire to find his brother.
There are kind hearts within the novel who try to bring out the best in Leon, fighting his corner and showing him kindness.Continue reading