Boo: The Things Parents Don’t Know Are Often The Most Important

The Things Parents Don’t Know Are Often The Most Important

The Misfortune Of Knowing

Boo by Neil SmithI’ll admit it: I was one of those children who tried to memorized the Periodic Table.

Today, there are 118 elements on the list. In the 1980s, when I was a kid, there were 108, and ten years before that, there were 106.

It’s these 106 elements, starting with Hydrogen and ending with Seaborgium, that 13-year-old Oliver “Boo” Dalrymple is determined to memorize.* He’s the main character of Neil Smith’s Boo, a dark yet amusing novel in which two boys investigate how they ended up dead. They’re stuck for the next fifty years in an afterlife in which everyone in a town called “Town” is their age.

The last thing Boo remembers of his life is standing in front of his locker reciting the elements when he dropped dead on September 7, 1979. The next thing he knows, he’s lying in a bed at the Meg Murry Infirmary, one of…

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