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I'm the King of the Castle by Susan Hill
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I'm the King of the Castle (1970)

by Susan Hill

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429835,056 (3.56)36
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Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
A psychological masterpiece illuminating the often terrifying dynamics of the minds of children in a way that I think Lord of the Flies is meant to. But I couldn't read past the first few pages of that one. THIS one grabbed me and kept me hooked right to the bitter inevitable end. Edmund Hooper is 11 years old; he and his father live alone in a big dark house where he feels quite content and settled, until his father hires a housekeeper for the summer. Mrs. Helen Kingshaw is a young widow with a son Edmund's age who is intended to be his companion. Despite the adults' misguided hopes, these two boys are NOT meant for each other. Edmund does not want anything to change--he doesn't mind the lack of a woman in the house, nor does he miss having a friend. "I don't want anything to be done about it, nobody must come here" he often thinks to himself. For his part, Charles Kingshaw is no happier with his new circumstances. He does not want to make himself congenial to Mr. Hooper or to Edmund; he is frightened of many things, not the least of which is revealing his fears to anyone. He had been comfortable at school, though, and simply wishes to be left alone to amuse himself until he can go back there. But he can see that it is no good; his mother and Mr. Hooper blindly insist that the boys are certain to get along and benefit from each other's company. They are the dimmest, most selfish and insensitive of adults. And Edmund is wickedly, cruelly tuned in to Charles's weaknesses. The only option for Charles is to leave when the opportunity presents itself. AND THEN....nope, you'll have to read it for yourself. ( )
1 vote laytonwoman3rd | Jul 8, 2017 |
Not comfortable with the topic of bullying. ( )
  Carolinejyoung | Dec 28, 2016 |
What a really beautifully written book.
But oh, how bleak and depressing and unfortunately, how shocking and true.
Although a young adult book, and indeed a book that really should be read by every boy in their early teens, it is also a story that we only 'get' when viewing from the perspective that life experience and adulthood can allow. ( )
  stevierbrown | Mar 22, 2016 |
I'm the King of the Castle Susan Hill
2 stars

The blurb on the back compared this book to Lord of the Flies well the only similarity I can see is that when I first read LOTF as a teenager I disliked that as well, however re-reading LOTF as an adult I appreciated the world and conflict Golding had created and while I wouldn't say I enjoyed the storyline I really appreciated the writing, somehow I don't think a re-read will help this book.

I don't like giving 2 star reviews and most books I read are 3 stars but I just couldn't justify to myself giving this more than 2 stars.

So the story centres on 2 boys around 11 years old, the fatherless Kingshaw and the motherless Hooper. Hoopers father has money and has moved into the family ancestral home while Kingshaws mother is poor and has been employed as housekeeper to the Hoopers. The parents believe that the boys being the same age and living in the same house will automatically be friends...Wrong!! Hooper resents sharing his home and father while Kingshaw resents spending summer in the country instead of away with his school friends, it soon becomes clear the boys hate each other.

The story takes place over the summer holidays while the adults are blissfully unaware the boys set out to torment each other, deliberately in one case and not so deliberately in the other. Each boys fears are exposed and ridiculed and various incidents occur which could have turned serious.

The problem for me was the "good" boy was not so good and the "evil" boy was not so evil, for me at least there was never any real tension, I think the author wanted the reader to imagine what was going on in the boys heads however the characters were both not likeable enough to empathise with and so the tension from the boys mind was no existent in the writing for me. The ending was predictable and I had been expecting it for several chapters, there was one incident that I think if it had turned out differently would have made a better ending but sadly it didn't.

All in all I was disappointed with this read ( )
  BookWormM | Jan 15, 2016 |
'he could not have imagined the charm it afforded him, having Kingshaw here, thinking of things to do to him',, November 16, 2014

This review is from: I'm the King of the Castle (Kindle Edition)
An absolutely riveting, heart-rending read, that I got through in one afternoon. Totally gets into the mind of young children - the pleasure for the bully and the inescapable torment for the victim - mocked if he is seen to cry, disbelieved by his elders...

When 11 year old Charles Kingshaw and his widowed mother go to live and keep house for wealthy Mr Hooper and his similarly aged son, it seems (to the adults) an ideal arrangement. But young Edmund Hooper's relentless mental bullying of this boy he sees as an intruder is brilliantly depicted.
I started this thinking it was well written but couldn't quite see how it justified being a GCSE text - but as I got further into it, this became very evident. Fantastic read. ( )
  starbox | Nov 16, 2014 |
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For Christopher and Deb Sinclair-Stevenson
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Three months ago, his grandmother died, and then they had moved to this house.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Telling the story of two boys forced to live together by their widowed parents, it is a chilling portrayal of childhood cruelty and persecution, of parental blindness and of our own ambivalence to what are supposed to be the happiest days of our lives.
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