Hostage

David lives with his mother and younger brother. His father committed suicide four years ago as a result of depression and drink. His mother takes in a lodger, Sam, to help her financially and he and David become good friends. Sam treats David in an adult way and brings him to an important football match. However, all is not well, as Sam is suffering from depression and is drinking too much. Things go from bad to worse as Sam’s hallucinations intensify. This is, of course, a re-run of what happened to David’s father and as David is now older, one presumes this gives him an opportunity to come to terms with his father’s death. He does claim at the end that he feels he knows his father better. However, the situation seems rather contrived. It is very unlikely that the lodger who came to them by chance would be suffering in the same way as the father. And David appears to be a perfectly well-balanced teenager doing teenage things with his mates and girlfriend. Nonetheless, the story is quite gripping and the author gives a vivid description of Sam’s tortured mind. Suitable for lower secondary school readers.