The Boy Under the Table, by Nicole Trope

Bein a mother was all-consuming.
There were so many mistakes you could make, so many ways to lose a child.

When Tina, a runaway teen living on the streets of the Cross, breaks her own rules and goes home with a stranger, she knows it is a dangerous thing to do. But she doesn’t expect to find something in the stranger’s house that will change her life forever. There is a boy tied up underneath the man’s kitchen table, and although Tina knows she could pretend that she saw nothing, the haunting image of that child’s face doesn’t leave her and she has to go back for him

In a distant country twon, Doug and Sarah wait for news of their son, missing for four months. A moment of innatention at the Easter Show and he was gone – vanished without a trace. Their lives are in limbo as they wait for news of his fate.

Their friend Pete, the town policeman, waits too. He and his wife are childless and see Lockie as a surrogate grand child, Doug as a son. As a policeman Pete knows he should remain distanced, but as a friend he suffers too.

The Boy Under the Table is a shocking story of abduction and mistreatment, told through the alternating viewpoints of Tina, Sarah, Doug and Pete. As well as being the frightening, yet moving, tale of Lockie’s ordeal, it is also the story of Tina’s own loss of a brother and the circumstances which saw her end up on the street, of Doug and Sarah’s relationship, and of their friendship with Pete. These other plot lines help to make the story more real, but also more palatable, offering relief from what could be an overwhelming main storyline.

Whilst this is not an easy read in terms of subject matter, it is gripping and also full of hope against pretty tough odds. Trope handles the subject deftly and with compassion making it not just palatable but ultimately uplifting.

The Boy Under the Table

The Boy Under the Table, by Nicole Trope
Allen & Unwin, 2012
ISBN 9781742379272

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