Fremantle Press (2013)
Reviewed by Pearl Maya
I don’t know much about 12 year old boys, having never been one personally, but I am much wiser for meeting and spending time with Spencer Gray, the hero in Deb Fitzpatrick’s The Amazing Spencer Gray.
Spencer lives with his family in Western Australia’s Great Southern region. His dad is the local doctor who takes him up in the glider sometimes. He has a mum who makes him banana smoothies or Vegemite sandwiches when he gets home from school. Spencer has a little sister Pippa who he loves, most of the time.
The story opens with him being something of a normal kid – he hangs with his mates, loves to skateboard, things at school are okay. He goes bushwalking with the family sometimes. He is helping his friend Leon build his Lego model of the Millenium Falcon.
Then things go wrong and Spencer finds himself “completely and utterly in charge of what happens next”. There is drama, adventure, danger and a few tears.
What I like best about this story is that it could be real – there are no dragons or vampires or magic or intergalactic travel. Spencer finds himself alone with only his accumulated knowledge of the world gleaned from school, TV and casual conversations within the family to find a solution.
I like Spencer Gray. He is funny and kind and very much a “boy”. If I was Pippa I would love to have him as my brother. He has no superpowers but he is amazing.