Book Review, Middle Grade Fiction

The Boy Who Made Everyone Laugh by Helen Rutter

The Boy Who Made Everyone Laugh is inspirational, touching and downright funny!

Billy Plimpton has a stammer. As he leaves Year 6 and begins secondary school, he is terrified of others finding out. He does all he can to hide his voice and think of ways to cure his stammer so he can follow his dreams of becoming a stand-up comedian – and not be embarrassed about who he is every single day.  In the process, Billy must learn to face so many fears. From school presentations to persistent bullies to the school talent show, Billy is exhausted by life and is running out of ideas.

Helen Rutter has created an insightful, empathy-building book about the challenges of starting at a new school when you feel different from everyone else. The issue of identity and how we define ourselves is developed as Billy grapples with important questions: is he Billy Plimpton, the boy with a stammer or is he Billy Plimpton, the funniest boy in the world? Maybe he’s both and so much more. As Billy learns to accept himself, he begins to see that he’s not the only one who feels different. Everyone has difficulties to face and mountains to climb.

The Boy Who Made Everyone Laugh is incredibly readable. Billy’s voice is so clear and it feels like we’re right there with him, facing every new experience. Children will love his jokes that fill the pages while adults will be challenged to think about which of Billy’s categories they fall into when communicating with a child with a stammer: are they an encourager, a mind reader, a joker or a waiter? Readers can’t help but come away from this book changed and better equipped to accept and support anyone who is struggling.

This story reminded me of the Child Line “Nobody is Normal” video. Everyone is different and facing their own challenges. Together, we can be brave and true to who we really are.

Thank you to Scholastic for this powerful book!

Click on the cover below to find out more or purchase on-line from Amazon.

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