“A warm, funny, poignant story. I loved The Wrong Boy -- and so will you.” -- Sunday Telegraph
From the Back Cover
Raymond Marks is a normal boy, from a normal family, in a normal northern town. Until, on the banks of the Rochdale Canal, one single incident changes his life forever. For Raymond, and for everyone with whom he comes in contact, nothing is ever quite so normal again.
Full of memorable characters and heartstopping moments, The Wrong Boy is one of the funniest, and most moving, novels you will ever read.
About the Author
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
I'm feeling dead depressed and down. Like a street-lamp without a bulb or a goose at the onset of Christmas time. Anyroad, I thought I'd pen a few lines to someone who'd understand. I know you probably won't answer this; I don't know if it'll even get to you. And, anyhow, even if you wrote back which I know is highly dubious it wouldn't get to me because I'll have gone. The above address is just a service station I'm stopped at. I'll probably not even post it. I'm writing this in the book I use for writing my lyrics and putting my ideas down. It's sort of a journal, I suppose; although that makes it sound more important than it really is. Anyroad, that's what I'm writing in as I sit here amongst the truckers and the tourists and the travellers and the transients. It's just occurred to me that you might have been in this cafeteria yourself, perhaps in the early days, on the way back from a gig and you and the lads pulled in for a cup of tea. It's a sort of comfort, the thought that you could have been here, Morrissey, perhaps even sitting at this very table that I'm sat at now. I wonder what your thoughts were as you sat in this shrine of self-service gratification, with its granary bar and its battered cod and its breadcrumbed haddock beached on a hotplate, far far from the rolling sea. I'm sitting here opposite a dead fat truck driver who's giving me a lift. I wish the bastard hadn't stopped for me. I could have walked here faster. It's taken nearly two hours to get from Manchester to here because he can't drive past a café or a service station without stopping for something to eat.
When I climbed into his cab he said, 'Where y' goin'?'
I said, 'Grimsby.'
He said, 'What for?'
I said, 'To work.'
He nodded over at my guitar. 'What,' he said, laughing at me, 'busking?'
'No,' I said, 'working on a building site!' He looked a bit dubious.
'Just doing a bit of labouring,' I said, 'and making tea and that.'
He nodded. And then he said, 'How come you're going all the way over there to find work?'
I thought about it. And then I said, 'Because of Morrissey.'
'Morris who?' he said.
'Morrissey,' I told him, 'not Morris who. Morrissey, the greatest living lyricist. He used to be with The Smiths.'
'Oh,' he said, 'that boring twat!'
I didn't talk to him any more. He put a Phil Collins cassette on and farted a few times which, in the musical circumstances, I thought was rather apposite.
He's just stuffed another bacon buttie between his teeth and he's laughing again so that you can see all the chewed-up bread and bacon and saliva in his mouth. He thinks it's dead hilarious 'cause I said I was a vegetarian. That's what started him laughing.
'I don't know what you're laughing for,' I said, 'because all sorts of people are vegetarian; like George Bernard Shaw was vegetarian. And Mahatma Gandhi! And the majority of the world happens to be vegetarian,' I said, 'including Morrissey. And me.'
He just laughed even more.
'And that's why I became a vegetarian,' I told him. 'Because of Morrissey.'
But I was wasting my breath so I shut up and let him laugh. What can you say to a Philistine who's into Phil Collins and Dire Straits and other such frivolity? I've got my Walkman on now so at least I can't hear him laughing. The only saving grace in having a lift from him is that he's so fat he makes me feel really thin. It's not that I'm obese or anything, not any more, Morrissey. But even though I'm not fat nowadays, I sometimes forget and still think of myself as being corpulent. And I hate having to look at pictures of me when I was fat. Photographs are just like computers - they never tell the truth. It's like that picture of Oscar Wilde, Morrissey, you know the one where he's got those boots on and he's leaning against that wall. And if that was the only surviving picture of Oscar Wilde everybody'd think he was a fat person, wouldn't they? But Oscar Wilde wasn't fat, not on the inside. And I wasn't fat, not on the inside, I wasn't. It was just a phase I was going through. And probably it was just a phase that Oscar Wilde was going through and he couldn't help it just like I couldn't help it. They used to call me Moby Dick! When we moved to Wythenshawe and they put me in that comprehensive school where I didn't know nobody and it was already the middle of term by the time I started, I walked into the classroom and Steven Spanswick looked up and said, 'Fuckin' hell, it's Moby Dick!'
And everybody in the classroom started laughing, even the teacher!
But I don't care about them now. I don't care about Spegga Spanswick and Barry Tucknott and Mustapha Golightly and all that lot. Hilarious bastards! Because I'm grateful really. It was because of people like Steven Spanswick and Jackson and all those other pathetic persons that I wrote my first ever lyric. It was called 'I Don't Care'.