Through the course of his story, Yip Tolroy founds out who he is and who he isn’t. My Name is Yip by Paddy Crewe is a historical novel with a difference, a first person narrative about an extraordinary, ordinary, boy and what he learns about friendship. Yip is 4 ft 8 in tall and unable to speak. His father disappeared on the night of Yip’s birth and so he and his mother muddle along together. He is assumed by everyone who lives in Heron’s Creek to be slow, with no understanding of what is going on around him. But the opposite is true. Yip watches and learns. He is a great observer. He is fifteen when old gentleman Shelby Stubbs recognises Yip’s intelligence, teaches him to read and write and presents him with a portable slate and chalk which Yip uses to communicate. A new world opens up before him but he must find the courage to take the first step.
The voice at first seemed awkward, but by the third or fourth page I knew this was Yip’s own voice and the awkwardness disappeared. Yip has a clear sense of right and wrong, of kindness and cruelty. As a growing child, he sits on a stool beneath a tree outside his mother’s store and watches the world go by. Until events conspire to change his world. Set in Georgia in 1830, gold is discovered near Heron’s Creek, a man disappears and Yip commits a crime. He goes on the run with a newcomer in town, Dud Carter; a man Yip has only seen once before. ‘A tall gangly figure with a crop of hair what the rain had plastered to his short forehead.’ These unlikely companions go on a road trip, with Yip’s constant horse Gussie, facing trials and danger, learning about themselves, each other and the things man is capable of doing to man.
This is an original story with an everyman message about being true to yourself. As Yip says at the end, ‘You got to keep yourself whole & be who it was you was set here to be.’
Very different. Don’t miss it.
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MY NAME IS YIP by Paddy Crewe #bookreview https://wp.me/p5gEM4-5S4 via @SandraDanby