Cover of the first edition.
|Publisher||J.M. Dent & Sons Ltd (original)
Penguin Books (current UK publisher)
|Media type||Print (Hardback, Paperback, E-book)|
|Followed by||Buddy's Song|
Buddy (1982) is a novel written by Nigel Hinton. The main characters are Buddy Clark, his mother Carol Clark, his father Terry Clark and Julian and Charmian Rybeero. The story deals with issues such as racism, thieving and child neglect.
The book was made into a television series in 1986.
Buddy has a hopeless father who is an aging rocker, interested only in rock and roll and motorbikes, living on the fringes of the under-world. When Buddy's mum walks out, the two manage to strike up some kind of relationship - until Buddy realizes that his dad is involved in something more serious than he suspected. A moving, totally convincing account of a boy's faltering relationship with his father.
Buddy is a young boy who is often picked on for being poor. He lives with his parents. It all started when Buddy wanted some money for a school trip and he was unable to go on previous school trips because he did not have the money. When his mother told him she did not have any money to give him, Buddy ended up taking the money from her purse. At the end of the day, his mum found the money missing and asks Buddy where he put the money, after revealing that he did take the money, his mum said "Like father, like son", as his father was previously sent to prison for breaking and entering. Before leaving she added "thief", and left Buddy crying. The next day Buddy found out his mum had left. Four months later, with his mum still missing, he was often called dustman at school often by his teacher and his classmates due to the state of his clothes, the amount of money in his family and also because he is friends with black twins Julius and Charmian who were also picked on.
Meanwhile, Buddy's dad got a job and worked a nightshift, but he refused to tell Buddy what it was which made him feel suspicious. That night he told Buddy about 56 Croxley Street saying the owner of the house killed his wife then hanged himself and the house was said to be haunted. The following night Buddy told Julius and Charmain about it and they found the boarded up house at Croxley Street. They were all shocked to find that someone lived in the house when they went to investigate. They came back in the day and spoke to the woman next door who knew the owner of number 56 as the Beast then they went in to investigate when he was out. The man returned home whilst they were in then they spoke to him. In fact, 'The Beast' was just a man with learning difficulties named Ralph James Campbell. After Buddy had a parents consultation evening at his school with Mr Normington and his dad came in his 'teddy boy' outfit making Buddy feel embarrassed then his dad went to work and leaving Buddy in the house on his own. When Buddy looked out the window, he thought the Beast was standing outside the house. He later heard the door bell ring and he found it is his mum. She went him to the snack bar at the Bus station and gave him the address to the flat she shared with a friend from work and said that he can see her anytime he wanted.
After his dad gets his motorbike back, a Harley Davidson also known as the 'arley which was confiscated before he got the job, he took Buddy for a ride out, he then had a tournament with Buddy on the pinball machine before going to work. Later on in the night, Buddy woke to find his dad in the bathroom with his hands bleeding. He claimed he fell of his bike however Buddy did not believe him. Buddy found a briefcase behind the door containing jewellery and believed that his dad had stolen it. The next day he convinced his dad to admit that he had been stealing and Buddy started crying, he asked his dad to stop and his dad told him he will try. His dad also asked him to ring a man about the jewellery who was called Mr King. When Mr King came over to Buddy's house to discuss something with his dad, he heard his dad telling Mr King that he did not want a job of stealing anymore however Mr King took no notice and told him he will give him till Friday for his hands to get better before they have a meeting at 56 Croxley Street. Buddy decided enough is enough and formed a plan to get Mr King arrested, it involved keeping his dad away from 56 Croxley Street long enough for Mr King to enter the house (he does this by convincing his mum to go and see his dad). Then, Charmian had to telephone the police and tell them someone is breaking in to 56 and wait for Mr King to get arrested.
However, Buddy found Mr King leaving Croxley Street before the police arrived. Later, his dad arrived on his bike where Buddy found out he and his mum didn't work out. Buddy told his dad he called the police however Buddy's dad enters 56 to check on the owner of the House (Ralph) who Buddy forgot about, shortly after that the police arrived and went into the house and later come out with Buddy's dad, the briefcase of jewels and Ralph. They both entered the car calmly and Ralph had his head in his hands, Buddy was not sure as he saw his dad put his arm around Ralph. After spending two nights at Julius and Chairman's house Buddy decided to escape to the country to avoid being put in care, he got supplies from his house including a sleeping bag, and went to the bus station then got on a bus (although originally planning to go to West Axle he got off the bus early before it got dark). When he got off the bus it's dark, he tried to head to a barn but got stopped by two aggressive dogs. In the end he sheltered in the wooden bus stop in his sleeping bag.
The next morning, which happened to be his fourteenth birthday, he headed to shelter in 56 Croxley Street and succeeded until Ralph returned after Buddy's dad told the police the truth that he had not been involved. After spending a night with Ralph he goes to his mum's friend's house to find he was the main headline in the paper saying that he was missing. Joyce told Buddy that his parents are looking for him and they were at his house then he went there to find them both (his dad was bailed out by his mum). Six months later, Buddy's dad was due on trial, he decided to plead guilty and got 18 months (a year and a half). He also asked Buddy and his mum to play a Buddy Holly song everyday (The song turned out to be Everyday). The lyrics indicated that his dad would not be long and that he still loves them in the end.
Nigel Hinton had great difficulty trying to start to write Buddy. The story had changed a lot by the time Nigel finished writing it. Buddy was originally nine years old, his name was Stuart and he thought his cousin was a spy and he likes tea.