The Boy Who Could See Demons by Carolyn Jess-Cooke


This was an unusual book, I really enjoyed the mystery of whether the boy could see demons, or only thought he could!

The story is about The Troubles in Northern Ireland, and how much that has effected the mental health of the people who have lived through trauma there. Which sounds depressing, but it’s actually funny and moving. The story follows two people, the boy who has a demon for a best friend, and is being assessed by the mental health organisations after his mother attempts suicide. The other is his social worker, recently returned to Northern Ireland and keen to make a difference, but also wrestling with the grief of losing her daughter and mother to schizophrenia related deaths.

As you read, you’re drawn into the little boys world, and his ability to see demons, his love for his mother, and the looming presence of his mysterious father, who has died and isn’t talked about. At first, you think his demon may be an imaginary friend, but not all that the demon does or what he talks to the boy about can be explained away so simply. His social worker is not sure what diagnosis to give him and whether he should be separated from his mother, or if this would be the worst thing to do.

It’s an interesting insight into a place that I have never been, and hadn’t realised had such a complex situation in it’s mental health care institutions. But more importantly, it’s a mysterious story about a boy wrestling with literal or figurative demons, and it’s told with humour and grace.

Read It If: You love a story of family mysteries or you are wrestling with your own demons.

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