Gather round everyone, it’s time for the heartwarming story of a boy who loved a book, and why occasionally the internet isn’t a total cesspool.
A couple of years ago, while on a weekend away in Peebles with Sean, the conversation turned to a book he’d read and loved as a child. He couldn’t remember the title or the author, just a few fragments from his memory. The front cover, a young boy doing his homework while scenes from the game dance around him. The main characters. Plot points.
“Let’s Google it!” Said I, because obviously Google has all the answers.
We uncovered a plethora of books vaguely matching the description. None of them were the right ones. We spent a long time trawling the internet, me adamently refusing to believe that this book could be impossible to find, but it certainly looked that way.
You’d never guess we’d been up half the night on a book hunt.
Every now and then in the following months and years it would come up in conversation and we’d look again, dozens of different search terms, wording them slightly differently, scrolling through Goodreads and forums and Google Images. Sean had started to wonder if the book was something he’d made up, a writing prompt that had snaked its way into his subconscious. I wasn’t so sure. The details he could reel off to me were too precise.
It was hugely annoying. I’m a stubborn crow and I have great faith in the internet, both of which were being tested strongly by this bloody nameless, formless book.
After it raised its head again late last year, I suited up and went in. But this time, I had a different plan: Reddit.
There’s a subreddit called r/tipofmytongue, where you post things you can’t remember the name of with a few descriptive details and hope that someone will recognise what you’re talking about and enlighten you. Reddit can be a…questionable place, so I wasn’t sure how well this would work. Or if it would at all. Or if I’d be soundly flamed.
But would you believe it, within a few hours I had a single, solitary response, from a user called GitaTcua.
It must be Gameplayers by Steven Bowkett.
I looked it up. Immediately checks out.
If I’d been alone, I would have screamed. As it was, I was with my Granny, and I didn’t want to give her nervous breakdown.
For the grand total of £3.72, I was able to secretly acquire a copy (HUGE shout out to Abe Books and The Children’s Bookshop for stocking it and delivering it so promptly) and present it to Sean as a belated Christmas present. He’s notorious for not doing big emotional displays but the level of carefully contained joy he exuded was high.
Basically, tenacity pays off and I am the best fiancée ever. Happy Christmas Seanathon!
His childhood book with his childhood teddy bear. Glorious.