The boy was clearly and unmistakably oddfitting. Oddfittingness emanated from his every pore; it enveloped him like a cloud; it hung on him and exceeded him as if it were a baggy, oversized T-shirt that came all the way down to his scrawny little ankles."
An odd boy must decide whether to abandon his home and go on a Quest to explore an odd fantasy world. Easy. Short. Odd.
After the jump, my review.
Murgatroyd Floyd suffers physical abuse from his school classmates and emotional abuse from his parents and, later, his employer, but he persists in believing he is loved and all is for the best. He reminds me of Voltaire's Candide, only slowly coming to Candide's realization that "we must cultivate our garden." But comparing this slim novel to Candide is overselling it. Read it on its own terms and you could grow to like it, even though this novel is primarily just odd. It's also a fantasy.
In Murgatroyd's world, the globe does not have a flat surface. It's crunched up like a wad of paper. Most of us just walk on the slightly bumpy surface, but a very few, the oddfits, can see the creases and crevices and folds and explore the much bigger universe that is contained within. This novel focuses on the emotional journey Murgatroyd must travel to decide whether or not he wants to join the other oddfits on a Quest to explore that wider world.
Many children, whether abused or bullied or just lonely, might identify with Murgatroyd. Others might be drawn into the fantasy world that is the premise for the novel, the so-called "More Known World" with its endless territories to explore. One territory contains The Great Freezer, where Uncle Yusuf (another oddfit) makes ice cream. Murgatroyd recalls seeing the Great Freezer once as a boy, long before he was aware that he was an oddfit himself: "Stars—Uncle Yusuf’s favourite flavour. So powerful was the memory that he could still taste the fiery explosion of that twinkling shard on his tongue, and felt—as he had at that moment in the Great Freezer—the magnificence of the universe unfurled before him, fluttering proudly on the mast of the great night sky." Kind of makes you long to be an oddfit yourself, doesn't it? It did me.
"The Oddfits" would make a good choice for a future selection of "Richardson Reads One Book."