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What I Did

A Novel

Christopher Wakling


List Price: 13.99*
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“This is family life today at its most believable: warm and messy, bored and raging….I LOVED IT.”
—Emma Donoghue, author of the New York Times bestseller Room
What I Did by Christopher Wakling is a truly astonishing novel—the chronicle of a family crisis that is equal parts hilarity, poignancy, and horror, told in the singular voice of a most precocious youngster.  Room meets The Slap meets The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Wakling’s tour de force concerns one rash act that pitches a six-year-old boy and his hapless parents into the center of a social services maelstrom. What I Did is contemporary fiction at its most enthrallingly original—poignant, powerful, and extremely funny—a miraculous work that prompted London’s Daily Mail to declare it “the novel that should have won the Booker prize.”

Praise For What I Did: A Novel

“Much in the vein of Atonement, a well-intentioned innocent threatens to destroy the people he loves most . . . affecting.”
Publishers Weekly

“Like Christos Tsiolkas’ The Slap, [WHAT I DID] documents one family’s attempt to cope with 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.”
— Irish Times

“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.”
— Emma Donoghue

“A powerful, poignant and funny novel, perched on the precarious line between protecting children and destroying families.”
— Melbourne Age

“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.”
— The Guardian

“Horribly plausible . . . [What I Did] brilliantly captures parent-child relations in the raw.”
— The Independent

“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

William Morrow Paperbacks, 9780062121691, 288pp.

Publication Date: July 17, 2012

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.