The Goldfish Boy

The Goldfish Boy


Twelve year old Matthew Corbin suffers from OCD due to his severe phobia of germs. He increasingly confines himself to his bedroom and he hasn’t been to school for weeks.

When his neighbour's grandson goes missing Matthew realises he might hold the key to finding him but can he bring himself to leave the safety of his bedroom?

Our Review

I picked up The Goldfish Boy on impulse as the second book in a buy one get one free offer when I couldn’t decide which book to get. I am pleased I did because Lisa Thompson has done a very good job of writing this book.

Twelve year old Matthew Corbin suffers from OCD due to his severe phobia of germs. He increasingly confines himself to his bedroom and he hasn’t been to school for weeks.   

Matthew’s parents are at a loss over how to handle his condition. His dad keeps trying to coax him into joining him for a game of pool or something or just telling him he needs to get over it. His mum has resorted to helping him with his compulsions by bringing his food to his room so he doesn’t need to come into the kitchen and by buying him some gloves after he burn his hands using too much bleach during his obsessive cleaning.

“My bedroom was the best part of the house. It was safe. It was free from germs. Out there, things were dangerous. What people didn’t seem to understand was that dirt meant germs and germs meant illness and illness meant death…I needed things to be right, and in my room I had complete control.”

He likes to spend time in the ‘office’ which has a tiny elephant mobile giving a clue to the reader that this was not the original purpose of the room. It is from this room that Matthew enjoys recoding the comings and goings of his neighbours in a little notebook.

Through his recordings we learn all about the lives and foibles of the people who live on the little cul de sac.

There is Mr Charles who never seemed to get any older and has just found an age he quite likes and stopped right there. Then there is Gordon and his wife Penny. Matthew’s mum thinks Penny is wise and a font of knowledge but his dad thinks she is just interfering and a bit of a know-it-all.

Then there are the ‘newlyweds’ Mr and Mrs Jenkins. Mrs Jenkins is pregnant, something which makes Matthew feel uneasy. Mr Jenkins works at Matthew’s school and is a stereotypical bullying gym teacher.

Melody Bird also lives on the close and can often be seen walking her dog Frankie at the weekends or heading to the graveyard behind the rectory where Old Nina lives.

Finally, there is Jake Bishop, Matthew’s former friend and the school bully.

One day Mr Charles’ daughter brings her children to stay with him. Casey is a very creepy six or seven year old girl who would give Damien a run for his money. Teddy is the young toddler who goes missing one day whilst playing alone in his garden.

Matthew quickly realises that he may have been the last person to see Teddy and that he is probably one of the best people to investigate his disappearance. His only worry is how he can do this when he doesn’t like to leave his house.

I like the way Lisa Thompson normalises his obsessive behaviours by showing that his neighbours all have unusual quirks too, particularly Melody and Old Nina.

The Goldfish Boy is not only an interesting story, it is also a useful tool for explaining or understanding OCD. 

Our Final Rating...

Our Rating

  • Currently 4.2/5

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