Academic journal article Literacy Learning: The Middle Years

The Boy with 2 Heads

Academic journal article Literacy Learning: The Middle Years

The Boy with 2 Heads

Article excerpt

Title: The boy with 2 heads

Author: Andy Mulligan

Publisher: David Fickling Books, 2013


Andy Mulligan's The boy with 2 heads is an incomparable text, its uniqueness making it both captivating and addictive. The novel tells the tale of 11 year-old Richard Westlake who, following the growth of a seemingly fatal lump on his throat, ends up with a second head. This second head, named Rikki, is viewed in unison with Richard as the one boy; however, in terms of personality, the two are in binary opposition. Where Richard is a well-mannered and hard-working student, Rikki is a narcissistic and cynical person who lacks manners, respect and a sense of boundaries. With the recurring inferences of his grandfather's death, Rikki's personality is seen by readers to be the psychological effects that form the repressed side of Richard. Readers can identify with this idea of having a second personality that often wants to surface and thus can relate to the protagonist and his situation, as well as question what 'our Rikki' would be like; however, Richard's unique problem also allows readers to enjoy the novel without feeling an immediate personal reaction to the themes.

The language, in particular its use in sentence structuring, is simple enough for younger readers; however, for older teenagers it can at times be painstakingly so. …

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