Happy as Larry, by Scot Gardner

The name Laurence had been Mal’s idea. It was a serious name that met Denise’s wish to counterbalance the frivolity of Rainbow. Mal considered, with an inward smile, that his friends would probably call the boy Larry. Larry Rainbow. A name that stood out on a stormy day, that rolled off the tongue like a favourite poem and that captured within its simplicity a smile.

Larry Augustine Rainbow is a much loved, much wanted child born into an ordinary family and looking set for an ordinary life. But as he grows up, the world changes, and so does his family.

Larry makes good friends, but his parents’ pasts, and the troubled life of a young neighbour, mean that his good times are sometimes overshadowed by darkness, and, in his teens, it seems that his family will be torn apart.

Happy as Larry is an intriguing book – from the beginning readers are drawn in by an almost fairy-tale style narrative style, though it doesn’t take long for the reader to realise there are chinks in this family’s happy existence. But, while Larry’s life is filled with twists and turns which are at times sad and others truly horrible, there is also plenty of sunshine and this is ultimately a feel-good book. Set against real world events of the past 20 years this is an outstanding offering for young adult readers.

Happy as Larry, by Scot Gardner
Allen & Unwin, 2010

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