The Pimlico Kid by Barry Walsh
Childhood on the streets of Pimlico was much like childhood anywhere else in the 1960s: bad parents, good parents, bullies, a penn’orth of sweets and regular trips to the cinema. In The Pimlico Kid, Barry Walsh conjures the pitfalls of early adolescence so deftly that the novel could be subtitled ‘The Tom Sawyer of SW1′.
We follow the story of Billy Driscoll and Peter ‘Rooksy’ Rooker as they go about their teen lives, mostly on the streets, bomb sites and garden walls of Pimlico. The pair get into plenty of scrapes, confronting the local bully, trespassing in interesting places and generally mucking around. The story often strays into dark places, with incidents of domestic violence and sexual predation. These are deftly handled — shocking without ever swamping the narrative. As the book goes on, our characters begin to explore their own sexualities. Awkwardness turns to tentative confidence, but the course of true love can often be bittersweet. You’ll be weeping like a hormonal teen by the end of it.
The incidents and anecdotes that weave this story together are so well sketched that Walsh must either have drawn copiously from his own childhood, or else have a first-class imagination. Probably both.
Published by Harper.