"This is a story about a terrible thing which happens to me. I have to warn you that nobody is bad or good here, or rather everyone is a bit bad and a bit good and the bad and the good moluscules get mixed up against each other and produce terrible chemical reactions. Did you know cheetahs cannot retract their claws?"
Six-year-old Billy loves animals, David Attenborough documentaries, and sneakers that flash when he runs. He does not love sitting still, the blood-soaked sky in Watership Down, or his father's cell phone.
When Billy runs into a busy street, ignoring his father's commands, he sets in motion a series of unexpected, family-altering events. What I Did is a heart-wrenching reminder of how best intentions can lead to disastrous consequences, and how one rash decision can take on a life of its own.
About the Author
Christopher Wakling grew up in California and England. He won a scholarship to Oxford University and has since worked as a travel writer, farm hand, and litigator. He now lives in Bristol, England, with his wife and children. What I Did is his sixth book.
Praise for What I Did…
“Much in the vein of Atonement, a well-intentioned innocent threatens to destroy the people he loves most . . . affecting.”
“Like Christos Tsiolkas’ The Slap, [WHAT I DID] documents one family’s attempt to copewith the aftermath of a public outburst and the failure of their own innocent attempts to put things right . . . an affecting, thought-provoking tale of parent-child relations.”
“Warm, hilarious, eye-wateringly moving, with the cleverest use of point of view since Jane Austen . . . WHAT I DID is the novel that should have won the Booker prize.”
-Daily Mail (London), "Christmas Pick" in the literary fiction category
“A child’s view of the actions and attitudes of adults has seldom been so compellingly or tenaciously illustrated as by Wakling in this perfect little book.”
“Gripping, hilarious, tender and a whole lot more, this is, without doubt, one of the books of the year.”
-Daily Mail (London)
“This is family life today at its most believable: warm and messy, bored and raging, and above all, self-conscious. WHAT I DID is every parent’s nightmare, but will make you burst out laughing too. I loved it.”
“A powerful, poignant and funny novel, perched on the precarious line between protecting children and destroying families.”
“Amusing and unsettling . . . What I Did lets us into the mind of a child who is comically literal and utterly at sea in the world of adults.”
“Horribly plausible . . . [What I Did] brilliantly captures parent-child relations in the raw.”
“Wakling creates believable conflict from the everyday facts of a child going just too far and a parent losing it . . . The novel is a strong depiction of a family in crisis.”
-Sunday Age (Melbourne)
“A powerful parable of 21st century society . . . a fine, challenging novel.”
-Mail on Sunday
“I loved it! Staggeringly good. Terrifyingly good.”
-Lisa Jewell, bestselling author of Ralph's Party
“Hugely impressive, gripping, funny and thought provoking.”
-Emily Barr, bestselling author of Backpack
“Excellent . . . Dark but uplifting.”
-Alex Preston, author of This Bleeding City