Today is my stop on the blog blitz for Charlie & Me by Mark Lowery and I am here today with an extract from the book for you all.
About the Book
Thirteen-year-old Martin and his younger brother Charlie are on a very special journey. They’re going to be travelling 421 miles all the way from Preston to the very tip of Cornwall. By train, bus and taxi, they are determined to get there in the end; and they’re hoping to catch a glimpse of the dolphin that regularly visits the harbour there. But is that the only reason they are going?
It’s a journey that’s full of challenges and surprises. Martin adores his brother Charlie but he’s not like ordinary kids. He’s one in a million. He was born far too early, and ought to have died. And cheeky, irrepressible, utterly unique Charlie is always keeping Martin on his toes – especially on this crazy trip they are now on. Martin is doing his best to be a good big brother, but it’s hard when there’s something so huge coming once they get to Cornwall …
An unforgettable novel that is by turns funny and heartbreaking.
‘Which biscuits do you fancy?’ I ask him. Mr Farook is watching us carefully from behind the counter. Each time I glance over he’s there, leaning right back so he can see along the aisle. I smile at him but his face stays blank. I’m starting to feel queasy.
Charlie pushes his milk-bottle specs up on his nose and squints at me through his lazy eye. His good eye has a Peppa Pig patch on it so that his lazy one learns to work harder. Peppa Pig is one of Charlie’s favourite shows, despite him being at least six years older than the average viewer. ‘Why can’t we have one of the biscuits from your rucksack?’
I clutch the rucksack to my chest, squeezing the hard corners of the omni-special-leftover-from-Christmas biscuit tin that I pinched from home. Of course Charlie saw me nick the biscuits. He sees everything, even though his eyes are rubbish. Maybe he’s not got a laser in his belly button. Maybe it’s a CCTV camera.
‘They’re special,’ I say, ‘They’re for when we get there.’
‘Where we’re going.’
I don’t want to tell him where we’re going till we’re on the train. He’ll only get excited. And trust me, an excited Charlie is not what I need in my life at quarter to seven on a Saturday morning. Imagine filling a puppy with blue Smarties and Lemon Fanta, then bouncing it on a trampoline: that’s Charlie when he’s excited.
‘Are there any of those chocolate wheels in the tin?’ he asks.
‘Course,’ I say.
‘What about the hefty thick ones in the golden foil? They’re my favourites. Ninety per cent chocolate. Five per cent biscuit.’
‘What’s the other five per cent?’ I ask, just because he’s always got a weird answer.
Charlie sniffs hard. ‘Dreams.’
Told you. Brain inside out.
He settles on a packet of Jammy Dodgers from the shelf (an excellent choice) and we go to pay.
When I get my wallet out I accidentally flash my wad of twenty-pound notes, which is a mistake. Mr Farook’s big furry eyebrows shoot up his forehead. The guy’s like a bloodhound for money. The police should use him to sniff out where gangsters hide their cash.
‘Going somewhere special?’ he says, nodding at my rucksack.
I’m trying to figure out how to answer this when Charlie butts in.
‘Switzerland,’ he says seriously. ‘I’m getting my belly-button laser upgraded.’
By the time Mr Farook can reply, we’re out on the street.
‘Nice work, boss,’ I say, giving Charlie a fist-bump. He gives me his cheekiest, squintiest, one-eyed grin and we set off walking to the train station.