The storytelling in this story confused me a little. There is very little description or elaboration of events. Everything is dealt with in as few lines as possible and very little consideration of how events EFFECT the characters we're following. This can be frustrating if, like me, you like a bit more depth to the story. However, it means that the book is kept short and sweet and the story is simple and easy to follow.
Duncan and Wilfred are brothers and, after their mother abandons them and their dislikeable father, they decide to leave home and head to London to buy a tram for £2.00. So begins a brief re-telling of their life story, told by Wilfred. From humble origins on a horse-tram, through to an electric tram and into the chaos of the Second World War, the brothers and their close friend Hattie share so many experiences as they grow up together.
Without sharing any spoilers, there are more than a few unorthodox aspects to the story which are often left unexplained. The story flies by big moments without really exploring how they affect the wider world or what impact they have on the characters we are supposed to care about. The narrative is sometimes frustratingly simple, with bad grammar arising far too often. It's not 'older' English as you might expect given the time period, it's just bad English. You might think it was being told from a child's viewpoint, but this isn't the case.
The story only really comes into its own in the last chapter, where Wilfred reflects on his experiences and what the passage of time does to places and to memories of those places. If more of that sort of reflection and characterisation had been conveyed throughout the book, it would have been far more engaging. That said, this isn't a bad book. The story is charming, honest and fulfilling. Its definitely a book worth reading in bed over a few nights.