Wednesday, 4 August 2021

πŸ“– Review ~ This Much Huxley Knows by Gail Aldwin


Black Rose Writing
8 July 2021

My thanks to the author for my copy of this book

I’m seven years old and I’ve never had a best mate. Trouble is, no one gets my jokes. And Breaks-it isn’t helping. Ha! You get it, don’t you? Brexit means everyone’s falling out and breaking up.

Huxley is growing up in the suburbs of London at a time of community tensions. To make matters worse, a gang of youths is targeting isolated residents. When Leonard, an elderly newcomer chats with Huxley, his parents are suspicious. But Huxley is lonely and thinks Leonard is too. Can they become friends?

Funny and compassionate, this contemporary novel for adults explores issues of belonging, friendship and what it means to trust.

πŸ“– My thoughts..

Huxley is an only child, living with his parents in a London suburb, and even though he has friends of his own age, sometimes Huxley is a little bit lonely, so when he meets Leonard, who is also a little bit lonely, the two of them, despite the great disparity in their ages, recognise a kindred spirit. 

Even though Huxley is only seven, it never felt like the dialogue was contrived and all credit to the author for getting Huxley’s voice absolutely spot on. However, I think, what really comes across is that we are viewing Huxley’s world exactly as he is seeing his life and, it must be said that, Huxley sees things differently, he watches, he listens, and whilst he doesn’t always have it right, and sometimes gets the wrong idea altogether, especially about what people have actually said, there is a sense of a wisdom to his observations which made me smile. I especially loved Huxley’s quirky way of putting words together and found myself nodding my head whenever he came up with something different to say.  

There are some important elements to the story, especially about loneliness, about finding your place when you’re a little bit different, about bullying, about prejudice and misunderstanding, but what also comes across is the need for us to try to be kinder to each other, and Huxley, in his special way, speaks sense, he knows much, and shows how important it is to listen and not be judgemental.

Funny, poignant, compassionate and beautifully written, This Much Huxley Knows is a joy to read from start to finish.

Novelist, poet and scriptwriter, Gail Aldwin’s debut coming-of-age novel The String Games was a finalist in The People’s Book Prize and the DLF Writing Prize 2020. Following a stint as a university lecturer, Gail’s children’s picture book Pandemonium was published. Gail loves to appear at national and international literary and fringe festivals. Prior to Covid-19, she volunteered at Bidibidi in Uganda, the second largest refugee settlement in the world. When she’s not gallivanting around, Gail writes at her home overlooking water meadows in Dorset.

Gail, where can we follow you on social media?

Twitter @gailaldwin




  1. I'm so glad you enjoyed Huxley ... and thank you for spreading the word.

    1. Thank you for a lovely story. I enjoyed getting to know Huxley !


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