The story of Harry Hodby living in a small country town and his growth into a young man is a ‘bildungsroman’. That is, it describes his coming of age, a process that moves children, sometimes quite roughly, into the adult world. The death of his mother and the loss of a dear childhood friend certainly force Harry to enter this adult world, as they teach him the importance of close and supporting relationships.
Throughout the story Harry takes on adult responsibilities early in his life when he loses his mother to a terminal disease. The loss of his mother doesn’t just affect Harry, but his family and everyone around him as his physical, emotional and mental capacity drops. From the text you understand that Harry, Keith and their dad dearly loved their mother, their wife. The young boys try to do as much as they can to help out their father. “We share the duties our mother left us, she died when I was 7 and Keith was 6 years old” The concept of loss is understood by Harry during the story as he loses people that matter the most to him. Not only his mother, but Linda Mahony, one of his best friends gets tragically killed. Linda and Harry were good for each other because when Harry tried to stand up for himself, and failed, Linda would always stand up for him and be the positive one.
Harry learns how appearances can be deceptive and that some things are not quite as they seem as he encounters different people in his town. Johnny Barlow for example, he