Matthew is a normal 11-year-old boy living with his parents and little sister in Surrey. He's too old and sensible to have an imaginary friend really. Yet when Matthew's parents keep finding him talking and arguing with a strange presence whom Matthew calls Chocky, that's what they believe it must be...at first. But Chocky is oddly sinister, and keeps asking Matthew all sorts of complicated questions about the world and making him behave in unusual and erratic ways. Then Matthew suddenly does something heroic, well beyond his capabilities; the media become interested and the interest in Matthew widens. His parents refer him to a psychologist. Who is Chocky? And what could he or she want with their son?
©1968 John Wyndham (P)2013 Canongate Books Ltd
I read all the John Wyndam novels when I was younger, having had the Chrysalids as a set book in school. I have all the unabridged John Wyndham novels already on audio book and was therefore extremely pleased when Chocky came out. Didn't know Daniel Weyman (the reader is crucial in my opinion) so after Googling and finding he had won awards I purchased the audio book. My only complaint was that it was so good I finished within two days - now I've run out of good audio again!
Chocky is a perfect example of an exploration of a single science fiction idea, where the extraterrestrial element, the existence of Chocky, is explained to the point of plausibility but the real focus of the book is how the world react to it, even without knowing it exists.
This short book is exciting and engaging from start to finish and leaves you feeling both satisfied but still questioning the issues it brings up. I would recommend this book to anyone, whether you enjoy science fiction or not.
Will read anything within reason.
A young boy begins to talk about having an invisible friend. The family are rightly concerned but have experienced this kind of thing before, so expect it will just go away. Gradually it is revealed that this friend, named Chocky, is chillingly different.
John Wyndham was described, somewhat unflatteringly, as the Master of the cosy catastrophe. Certainly this story seems to fit the bill. The family are the epitome of middle class Britain in the 1950s. Daddy is an accountant and Mummy is a housewife educated to degree standard, but is content to clear the dining table, helped by her young daughter, while father and son have a man-to-man chat about important family problems. The alien visitation and possible possession are handled in a very stiff upper lip kind of way, with only a slight wobble from Mummy, and anybody who is looking for a rip roaring kind of plot will not find it here. What I did enjoy was the insight into life in the middle part of the last century. As we are now, people were concerned about mankind’s dependency on a degenerating asset, the Earth’s resources, but remained cynical about our ability to tackle the problem in a mire of corruption and big business vested interests. These are big problems but Chocky is mainly a moving and tender story revolving around a family’s undying love for their adopted son and their desire to protect, but also to understand what is happening to him.
John Wyndham is a master storyteller and some of the most frightening things happen when our cosy lives are threatened. For this reason his science fiction continues to be relevant despite all the social and technological changes we have gone through. Daniel Weyman reads this story with admirable restraint and portrays the father’s compassion for his boy with perfection.
I loved the tv serial chocky and later chocky;s children and chocky's challenge and decided to try to book,.
I wasn't disappointed. told by Mathew's father all the elements I had seen on the tv screen were there which shows how good the story is.
Daniel weyman did an excellent job of performing the book.
Yes, for me, this is near perfect science fiction.
John Wydham's reserved non-sensational style is so very powerful and convincing.
Brought tears several times.
Audio books have been an incredible discovery
In the years this book has been out it has had many covers, many blurbs and none do it justice, and for that reason I didn't bother with it for a long time...wrong....great story and uncommonly upbeat for the genre.
Bit of a newbie listener, still trying to find out what I like
I was a little reticent about buying this, partly because of the reviews and partly because of title. The latter was unfounded. It’s true that this isn’t one of John’s masterpieces, however the story has a lighter weight feel which I found quite refreshing. The storyline kept me interested all the way through and, as much as an audiobook can be, was very much a page turner. This is on my to-listen-to-again list.
I love the way John Wyndham writes his books. For me they have just enough description and they flow brilliantly. I enjoyed hearing Daniel Weyman read. A very clear voice with a nice contrast to characters when they spoke. Ever since hearing other great books by John Wyndham when I was younger - The Chrysalids read by Robert Powell and Day of the Triffids read by Samuel West I have been hooked, I just wish Audible would have these versions as they are by far the best and my tapes are wearing thin.
Mysterious, plausible, engaging.
Chocky - without giving too much away, the character themself is interesting and made more so by the obscured view we get of them.
The final, where all is revealed.
Yes, and the short length made it easy to enjoy over one day at work.
I love science fiction which plausibly inserts its sci-fi premise into 'our world' (as opposed to that set in 'other worlds' or too far into the future). This book is an example of that, in my opinion. I think the way that the sci-fi element gradually unfolds and the events through which this occurs are done very well. I think the short length of the book is appropriate for exploring and revealing the full extent of its premise, it is paced well and never becomes tedious.
I remember reading this when I was a young teen and enjoying it. Returning to it now I enjoyed it again, but I now noticed a fairly strong note of misogyny towards the book's female characters. I imagine this is just a sign of the book's age. It would probably put me off recommending it to young readers until they are at a point where they are able to read critically though.
This book was written in the 60's but reads like it was published yesterday. I loved it. Original, fascinating and hard to put down. Not as action packed as modern sci-fi and I wish it ran longer but I'm not complaining. I'm going to check out a few other titles from the same author.
"very good no-tech novel"
I liked this partially due to the fact there is no tech involved. for the most part it is applicable to everyday life in the ?s surrounding the imaginary friend of the boy. well written and not drawn out. it has a story and sticks to it, something modern writers who go on for hundreds of pages before arriving nowhere should learn from. (are you listening Stephen King, Peter Straub? etc.)
"Imaginative story well told"
I have never read this story but enjoyed other outings by John Wyndham, so I thought… why not? I am glad I did.
NARRATOR – The narrator does an excellent job of keeping this story together. His voice differentiation is great so there is no confusion. His accents are appropriate and inflections keep the story moving along without being overly dramatic. Very well done.
STORY – A story that adds a new dimension to the usual nasty imaginary friend dross. I kept on expecting the nastiness that often accompanies these stories but it didn’t happen, thank goodness. The story was well written and had good character development. I even felt a bit sorry for the oh so superior Chocky. It had some interesting ideas in it too.
I would recommend this book unreservedly.
If you like science fiction just buy the book already. It was great when I read it years ago, and it is now great in the audio-book format too.
"unexpectedly fun and memorable"
maybe, I hesitate because I don't have enough time for the 'next' book/podcast, etc, not bec of the book. It was superb!
I related best to the dad (though I'm a mom) & connected w/the worrying-mom but not surprisingly, loved best the main child character, Matthew.
Daily listening on the way home from school was an unexpected treat for ME and my 10 year old too. I felt that the narrator was really excellent. I like to not notice a narrator, but ow I'll look for him.
really a great book on so many levels, especially to be enjoyed by the young reader. But the bond that I enjoy w/my son after and during this 'read' is best of all. Its sticks w/you.
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