The Wrong Boy
Willy Russell has written some cracking plays—notably, Shirley Valentine and Educating Rita. He has a fine eye for human frailty and an ability to create humour out of the blackest, most miserable of situations. In The Wrong Boy, Russell's first novel, he continues to deliver the goods.
Raymond Marks was, by today's definition, an average lad. By his 18th year he is perceived as a social reject, a mental case, and a dirty “perv.” Raymond evolves from an innocent beginning—by a series of unfortunate mishaps and misinterpretations centring on his desire to prove his innocence— into “the wrong boy.” He is taken out of school, forced to leave his home town for fear of a lynching mob, and eventually finds himself in a psychiatric ward. The novel raises, perhaps inadvertently, several questions about the definition and origin of mental illness.
The Wrong Boy gives an insight into a world that