Review: The Boy Who Made It Rain

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From the rich school he attended to the change to a poorer area Clem learns the true meaning of abuse, prejudice, bullying, and discrimination.

From being treated as a unique and pleasant young man to being mistreated and beaten by a group of boys who enjoy hurting others The Boy Who Made It Rain really gives the reader much pause for thought as you hear the voice of the characters as they relate their impressions, encounters, and observations about Clem Curran. As you listen to the voices and read the narrations you will form your own opinions about each of the primary players in this novel and decide for yourself who was truly the cause of what happens and why.

Author-Brian-ConaghanAs the story opens we learn that the book is divided into two unique and separate parts. The first introduces the characters or main players who relate their feelings, initial experiences and observations of our main character Clem Curran. Continued by describing their first meetings with him, how they interacted with him in school, their rivalries, their teacher’s relationship with him and their jealousies and more. Clem Curran is a brilliant scholar who loves English, Shakespeare and languages.

There are many who do not understand much of what he does. The author begins by introducing the reader to Rosie who is definitely smitten with Clem. After reading how she describes him her observation of his looks, and how excited she was to be paired with him in Italian class you can tell she fancies him. Next, Classy Cora, her friend and yet rival for Clem’s attention and affection. Stating that he is boring and too into reading and books and not really her type. But, that remains to be seen. Next, we meet Paula Croal, the teacher who Rosie feels is too friendly to Clem yet not in the words of the teacher when we meet her. Ms. Croal is new to teaching and describes her feelings for Cora, Rosie, and Clem quite differently and feels that Cora is the wrong friend for Rosie.

Each character creates his/her own picture and character analysis of Clem. What is really unique is that they are all differently viewed from the perspective of the individual characters and how they feel they interacted with him while he attended the school in Scotland. Meeting Mr. Cunningham the head of the English Department is quite enlightening as he relates his views and opinions about each of the characters thus far and states that Cora in her slovenly way should drop out and go to beauty school, Rosie has a dark side and looks rather torn between death and the real world and Ms. Croal seems to emulate the lower end of the spectrum in dress but not in her ability to interact with the students and get the job done.

Continuing we hear from Rosie’s mom who has her own take on her daughter’s friendship with Cora and hopes for her future. Hoping that her relationship with Clem will stay on an even keel but things change and she soon learns that Clem will be moving to England and what happens may affect Rosie greatly. The author continues with Mr. Cunningham describing Clem’s parents and his impression of them and how he wishes his education would not be interrupted at such a crucial juncture. But, the worst was yet to come since the move and the damage awaits poor Clem when he arrives in Glasgow and enters his new school. Trying to be invisible, staying to himself and not directly looking at anyone in eyes seemed to be the way to go until it was not. What that means you will learn as my review continues for The Boy Who Made It Rain an innovative novel that will keep you glued to the story until you turn the last page and learn the final outcome.

Basically told in narrative form hearing the thoughts and voices of each character author Brian Conaghan has written a really unique novel about a young man named Clem whose only interest in life is to become a success. Rosie’s mom voices her concerns about her friendship with Clem and how it started, where she thought it might go and the end result when Rosie finds out he is leaving and returning to England. Next, we have Rosie herself who spies on Clem and Ms. Croal whose behavior with him was anything but appropriate. Cora weighs in next as her best friend and we hear the concerns of Mr. Cunningham about Clem, his moving and his parents. Finally, we are now at part two where Clem’s voice will be heard and what happens next will surprise the reader.

Invisibility is all that Clem wanted. Searching for his own identity and living in a place he despised, hated and felt like an outcast in. With parents who did not really understand his isolated feelings and a father whose concern seemed only on his new job, Clem felt all alone except for Rosie, who he felt safe with yet did not really trust. As we hear his voice and he recounts the events that lead up to the dramatic ending, we learn about his first impressions of Rosie and what attracted him to her and the tenement where he will have to live. But, nothing is more horrific than the school he attends, the teens that are prejudice against him because he is different in too many ways.

Commenting on his appearance, accent, intelligence and more he was a prime target for the NED’s a gang that prided themselves on slashing anyone that they felt was inferior to them or just plain different from them. Teenagers face many difficult things not just in Scotland but here in America too. Bullying is not unique to one place it seems like a universal problem. But the teachers in this school, although aware of the issues involving these NED’s and smokers could only give advice which was fourfold to anyone experiencing the wrath of these gangs.

Rumors fly and Rosie and Clem both realize that listening to thoughts and words of others will only ruin the good that they have between them. But, then something happens and Clem snaps and disappears roaming the town for two days after suffering at the hand of one of the gang members. What happens when someone can’t take it anymore? What happens when you want to protect someone you care about but lose control or sight of what is real and not? What happens when the world fades and you just see what you want to see and the end result is not what you expect? As Clem faces his worst nightmare the reader will finally understand how far someone will go to protect someone they care about.

The twist at the end will surprise the reader and the outcome will give you much pause for thought. As Clem finds his voice and decides what he needs to do he realizes that the end result is “ He Made It Rain.” Just how he created this water and who received the end result you will have to find out for yourself as the rain we are talking comes pouring out as Clem tries to protect his world, his point of view, his respect for himself, his dignity and his fear of what comes next. This is a unique book told from many different viewpoints. As we hear Clem’s thoughts and his voice comes through you can feel the frustration, fears, the anger and the disappointment faced by a young man who just wanted to succeed in school, mind his own business and stay invisible under the umbrella and not let the rain come down too hard.

Author Brian Conaghan brings to light the issue of bullying, class issues, prejudice and the difficulties teens face growing up in any society or country today. Hearing the voices of the characters and getting to understand them up-close and personal makes the book come alive and the characters real. What is the final outcome for Clem you will have to decide for yourself? Will the author write a sequel and let the reader know what is next for him, Rosie, Ms. Croal, Cora and the rest of the characters in Glasgow? Will Clem go back to Eastbourne, go to Brighton or remain and graduate and stick it out? Only the author knows the answers to this question. Thought-provoking, mind-stimulating, and characters with individual voices that are heard loud and clear The Boy Who Made It Rain is a must-read for everyone.

1 Comment
  1. Katie Macpherson says

    Completely agree!! This book is an absolute page turner, and is difficult to put down. Conaghan captures the characters convincingly, and the format, a series of testimonials suits the story, and makes it even more mystifying.

    Check out http://www.what-magazine.co.uk for another review!!

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