In The Hideaway by Pam Smy teenager Billy runs away from home. He just can’t stand staying there any more, he loves his mother but can’t stand witnessing her abusive relationship with her partner Jeff who has become controlling and violent. When Jeff starts in on Billy’s mother again he is ready, he has a plan.
It’s pouring with rain but Billy leaves home to camp out in an old World War 2 pill box which has been completely camouflaged by ivy over the years. The pill box is in an old graveyard and he thinks he can stay there undetected for ages, but in no time an elderly man has detected his presence, and so begins a friendship between the two.
The tale is told from two points of view, that of Billy, and his mother. She has been totally isolated from her neighbours, so when it’s known that Billy is missing she’s surprised and strengthened by their willingess to help look for him.
My only gripe with this book is that it makes a complicated and dangerous situation seem easy to overcome, with the police being so supportive, something that is even nowadays fairly unlikely. But obviously Pam Smy wanted to write an uplifting and optimistic ending.
I read this one on my Kindle, but I suspect that an actual copy of the book would have been a much nicer experience as the illustrations don’t show up so well in that format I’m sure.
Thank you to Pavilion Books who sent me a digital copy of this book via NetGalley.
If you aren’t sure what a World War 2 pill box looks like the photo below will give you an idea. This derelict one was built near a railway line in Fife, obviously if the Nazis had managed to get on Scottish soil it would have been used to defend the railway line. When I took this photo it was being used by a farmer for storage. Otherwise it could quite easily have disappeared under ivy and brambles.