The Goldfish Boy
By Lisa Thompson
New York: Scholastic Press, 2017.
Genre: Realistic Fiction / Mystery
Grades: 5 and up
Just what is it like to live with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder? Meet Matthew Corbin a twelve-year-old with OCD who in the beginning of the book has stopped attending school, barely communicates with his family and has completely shut out the outside world. His only connection to the outside world is his bedroom window and his computer. From my psychiatric nursing days, I learned people with OCD are often rigid, stubborn, perfectionists, preoccupied with rules, order and organization and often take no time for leisure or social activities. Lisa Thompson does a great job developing the character of Matthew. His need to have order in his world circles around his need to record habits of his neighbors; when they leave and return from work, who visits them, what lights they routinely turn on etc. To the reader this may seem like a complete waste of time but as the story develops and a toddler goes missing, Matthew might be the key to solving the kidnapping/murder of little two-year-old Teddy.
Matthew expresses his obsession of being germ free by his compulsion for cleanliness. What twelve-year-old would clean (actually disinfect) his entire room daily or sometimes more often. Read from page 14-16. That hardly seems harmful but when he washes his hands over and over and uses bleach to clean his hands become a bloody mess and it begins to incapacitate him.
The author does a fabulous job allowing you to get to know each neighbor their habits, their quirkiness and why each one is a suspect in the case of the missing toddler. She builds a great whodunit which will keep the reader guessing up to the very end!
The book is educational, compassionate and builds empathy!