The book begins with Buddy stealing a £5 note from his mother’s purse, which we later discover is for a school trip to a castle. We learn that Buddy feels really bad about stealing the money but he does so because he does not want to miss another trip as he’s the only one in the class who can’t afford to go.
We learn that money is tight for Buddy’s family since the factory closed and his dad is no longer working. Buddy tells us that they both smoke and his dad goes to the pub in the evenings so he thinks that he should be allowed to spend the money on the trip.
When Buddy goes to school, he thinks about taking the money home but when everyone else in the class puts up their hand to pay, he decides to hand over the money.
When he gets back home, his mum storms through the door, demanding to know where the money is. Buddy tries to lie bit eventually explains why he took the money. His mum is furious and tells him, “like father, like son.” We are then told that Buddy’s dad spent three months in prison for breaking and entering and Buddy is worried that he is going to up like his dad.
That night Buddy hears his mum and dad fighting and goes to sleep with his pillow over his ears to block out the noise. When he gets up, his dad is asleep at the kitchen table. He asks him where his mum is and he responds, “gone.”
Buddy thought she would return but we are told by the narrator at the end of the chapter, that weeks turned into months and she wasn’t coming home. Buddy blames himself for his mum leaving.
- What type of narration is used in this novel? Explain your answer.
- Why does Buddy steal the money? Would you have done the same thing? Explain.
- Buddy is unsure about handing over the money, what does this tell us about him?
- What is your impression of Buddy? PQE
- What problem/conflict has been created in the opening chapter? Does this make you want to read on?
- Do you feel sorry for Buddy? Explain why.