My book review of 'The Boy Who Made Everyone Laugh' by Helen Rutter

The Boy Who Made Everyone Laugh

by Helen Rutter
Recommended age: 8+
The Boy Who Made Everyone Laugh
by Helen Rutter

Billy Plummer wants to be a stand-up comic. He's only 11 but he's got a great repertoire of one-liners and a wry take on life that has his family in fits of laughter. But Billy has a stammer so reaching a wider audience will be difficult. It can take him some time to reach the punchline of his jokes and his speech problem is tearing him apart in the embarrassment and frustration.

There is a brilliant, bad joke at the beginning of each chapter and funny quips and observations throughout the story as Billy seeks to make his friends and family laugh, while also highlighting the funnier side of his plight.

A kid threw a lump of cheese at me. It wasn't very mature.

Billy is a lovely boy. He's incredibly kind and generous to others yet a victim of bullying when he joins his new school. He struggles to make friends because he's embarrassed about his stammer and he's desperate to try any means to get rid of his affliction.

What do you get if you cross a dog and a calculator? A friend you can count on.

Regular meetings with a speech therapist are helping but Billy needs to see an improvement more quickly. The school is holding a talent contest and he is desperate to take part, but if he can't get rid of his stammer the joke will be on him - won't it? 

Why was the maths book sad? It had too many problems.

This is written by the comedian and actress, Helen Rutter, inspired by her own young son who has a stammer.

Did you hear the rumour about the butter? Well, I'm not going to start spreading it.

It is a great book. There are the big themes of coping with a speech impediment, bullying, illness and grief but the jokes are hilarious and Billy's take on life is entertaining and endearing. It's a delightful story, aimed at readers aged 8+, and a book to pick up time and again, if only to take a note of the jokes.

Review date: February 2021
Publication date: 4th February 2021