Six year old Billy Wright loves animals, David Attenborough, and sneakers that flash when he runs. He also has a big imagination, which can sometimes get out of hand and get him in trouble. But one day when he’s on break from school he gets more than himself into trouble. Going to the park with his dad, his imagination takes hold of him and he wanders away from his dad, who ends up chasing after him. Turning it into a game, Billy begins to run into the street to try to hide from his father, almost getting his by a car. Pulling him back onto the sidewalk, his dad punishes him by spanking him in public. When a stranger walks by and witnesses this action, child protective services becomes involved, opening a large can of worms for Billy and his family.
With his dad refusing to talk to the authorities about the situation, they begin to threaten to take away Billy unless some changes are made. Terrified of losing his only son, Billy’s father takes Billy on an adventure one night, leaving everything they know behind. Now it’s up to Billy to figure out how to get his dad to take him home and set things right.
What I Did is an amazing tale told through the eyes of a six year old about the events that occur after his father spanks him in public. Christopher Wakling did a very good job at writing from the point of view of a six year old. Everything that was happening continued to move and jumped around a little, just like a six year old’s mind would. He associated one thought with a completely different thought that somehow connected back to the first thought. Also some words were spelled the way you would hear them rather than how they are really spelled. Any time nuclear missals were mentioned, Billy said new clear. So it was easy for the reader to understand what he was talking about, but you could see that he didn’t fully understand what was being talked about. Billy also connected the way people look with a particular animal, which was great since he loves animals so much. The woman from child protective services was known as Butterfly and her co-worker was known as Giraffe just from the way they looked or something about their appearance that reminded him of these animals.
The only problem I really had with it were some instances where it seemed like something was going to happen, but then it didn’t. For instance, Billy and his dad would always visit his mother’s sister without her, which kept me thinking that something was going on between the dad and the sister. But, apparently, that was just me assuming things. I don’t know how he would have incorporated that information, anyway, since the focus was on what was going on with Billy, but I’m sure it would’ve added a little something to the drama.
Overall, great book and fast read. Only just under 300 pages, Wakling draws the reader in and keeps them hooked to Billy and his case by his way of telling the story.