The Boy who Sailed the Ocean in an Armchair – Lara Williamson

The-Boy-who-Sailed-the-Ocean-in-an-ArmchairBecket Rumsey is all at sea. His dad has run away with him and his brother Billy in the middle of the night. And they’ve left everything behind, including their almost-mum Pearl. Becket has no idea what’s going on – it’s a mystery. So with the help of Billy and a snail called Brian, Becket sets out on a journey of discovery. It’s not plain sailing but then what journeys ever are? An extraordinary story of courage, dreams and finding your way, from the bestselling author of A Boy Called Hope.

Other books by the author

A Boy Called Hope


Author Website

Interview with the author

If you liked this, try…

Wonder by RJ Palacio

Liar and Spy by Rebecca Stead

My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece by Annabel Pitcher

Dandelion Clocks by Rebecca Westcott

Smart by Kim Slater

Beetle Boy by MG Leonard


24 thoughts on “The Boy who Sailed the Ocean in an Armchair – Lara Williamson

  1. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I laughed at Billy’s stupid but funny comments and I absolutely loved Brian the snail.

  2. This book is full of amazing adventure, an adventure not on the ocean but through love, hope, laughter and real heartbreak. I loved the way that Beckett and Billy set up a spy group. Their missions made the story a whole lot more exciting. Writing this book in the first person made me feel as though I was really there and the plot was really absorbing. I think this is one of the best books I’ve read!

  3. ‘This book made me think about the troubles people have in real life and how they cope with it, it also made me feel happy that I have my family.

  4. Becket Rumsey has run away from his almost-mum Pearl with his younger brother Billy, his dad and a snail called Brian. This is a brilliant tale of friendship written by the author of the bestselling novel A Boy Called Hope. The Boy Who Sailed the Ocean in An Armchair is an excellent read and a true page-turner that I was reluctant to put down.

    A good read, this is my type of book; an uplifting book with a good moral…..your life is NEVER perfect.

  5. This is a lovely book with a lovely setting and I really enjoyed reading it. I liked Beckett’s ‘Goodbye list’ and that he chose number 10 instead of the others which made a very good ending.

  6. There are some very vivid characters in this book: Billy and his pet snail, who are hilarious and Beckett, who just wants to say ‘Goodbye’ to his mum. The story flips constantly between sad and happy, which kept me hooked! It was so moving and it was easy to put myself in Beckett’s position, especially when Billy jumped into the sea after his snail. I thought the title was clever and creative – even if it didn’t really happen! This book was hard to put down. It was amazing!

  7. This is a really well written book that I adored. It really brought out my emotions; one minute I was laughing, the next I was crying! It did get a bit confusing around the middle when I couldn’t keep track of all the female figures. The description was realistic and I thought that the ending was brilliant.

  8. Lara Williamson writes amazing stories that really draw you in and this book is no exception. It was gripping to see how kind, sweet-tempered Pearl changed, becoming short-tempered and snappy and then even cruel to Billy. The author balances the anger and sadness with humour from Beckett’s unusual language choices, the funny business names and from Brian the snail, who was my favourite character as he was always ‘saying’ amusing things. My favourite part of the whole book was the ending, especially Beckett’s touching letter to his mum, which solved the mystery of why Billy always woke at 5:43 every morning. Overall, I thought this was a really good read and I’d recommend it to anyone who enjoys a rollercoaster of emotions.

  9. This thrilling adventure mirrors the story that is related by a boy to his little brother to help him sleep and gives the book its title. I haven’t read anything like this before and I really enjoyed it.

  10. I think Lara Williamson writes quiet stories with a big voice that walk a fine line between humour and sadness, and this book was no exception. I loved it! Her main characters are unique and practically explode from the pages. We meet Becket, whose story is both moving and funny, and his little brother Billy who provides a lot of humour with his pet snail. You can’t help smiling at the swear words: ‘Sweet baby cheeses!’ and the business names: the Codfather, Crops and Bobbers and Burger She Wrote, even when the story touches on serious issues of control and abuse. One moment I was wiping away a tear of sadness, the next almost crying with laughter!
    Best of all there were a couple of twists which I didn’t see coming and kept me hooked. I loved the idea that our loved ones come back to us as butterflies and the way that the story of the origami cranes was woven in to make a really good ending.

  11. I think Lara Williamson has written an amazing and imaginative story which made me sad and amused at the same time. I loved the mild humour – when Beckett played along with Billy’s childish games like being spies and believing that his pet snail could talk – and the made-up shop names like “Crops and Bobbers” and “The Codfather”. I loved the way that the stories Beckett shared with his brother reflected what they were going through. I felt sorry for Beckett not knowing how to say ‘goodbye’ and having to make a list. I didn’t really get the bit about the paper cranes and why Beckett made loads of them.

  12. This book took me on an amazing roller coaster of emotion. Sometimes it had me laughing out loud. At other times it had me crying with sadness. I like the way it was written from Becket’s perspective so I could really understand and feel what he was going through. Although it was unclear what happened to Pearl in the end, I thought there was a satisfying resolution for the family.

  13. I think this is an inspirational story! I think it’s good to read about how people can be controlling in relationships without anyone knowing about it.

  14. This is an interesting book with an emotional but often hilarious story. The first few pages grabbed my attention straight away and I couldn’t stop reading. I really like the way that the main plot and the story Becket told his brother linked and told me more about the boys’ mum. It helped me understand the main story better and gave it a magical feeling. This book is great – I enjoyed it very much.

  15. This book was a real eye-opener for me. The cover and title made it seem like a fantasy but in fact they refer to a parallel story that Becket tells his little brother to comfort him. I think the author got the balance of the book perfect with just enough humour to lighten some very thought provoking scenes. When Pearl suggested that Billy might have been responsible for the death of his mother, the cruelty made me melt on the inside and I realised that these things must happen in real life. Overall, this is a heart-warming and humorous story and I would recommend it.

  16. I really enjoyed this story, which was gripping and emotional. Although I don’t think they were described, I found it quite easy to picture the characters from the dialogue. I imagined Pearl to be small and blonde and Dad rather chubby. My favourite thing was how hard Dad tries to protect his kids but doesn’t always get it right. I thought the title fitted the story really well as it refers to the story that Beckett made up to comfort his little brother.

  17. This is an amazing story that touches on some serious topics in a way that is still suitable for children. I found the book fun and enjoyable to read despite being almost reduced to tears in places! The multi-layered plot made the story more believable and I liked the trouble the author had taken to really get inside the characters and give them both good points and flaws. I thought this story was very well plotted with a good pace and very well designed characters and it’s high on my list.

  18. My favourite characters were Billy and Brain the Snail. I thought Brian taught Billy some important lessons in life. In fact, the whole story did, especially when Billy jumped into the sea ‘because Brian fell in’ and when he found that the easiest way of saying ‘goodbye’ is not saying it at all.
    This was a hilarious book, full of slapstick comedy but which also brought a tear to my eye. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did!

  19. When reading this book, I felt a real connection with the characters because it was easy to imagine this situation in real life. I thought the characters were memorable and it didn’t matter that they weren’t always described in detail because I could picture them from their personalities. The action was well spread and kept me interested. I thought this was a very good book.

  20. As I was reading this book, I felt like I was experiencing the same things as the characters, shouting in my head at them when they assumed something wrongly. I felt protective towards the characters and wanted everything to turn out well for them. However, the long spaces between the action disappointed me. The ‘goodbye’ letter at the end was my favourite part because it reflected Beckett’s personality.

  21. I thought this was a wonderful book, jam-packed with twists and I almost cried at the end. (Almost!!) I liked how Billy referred to himself as ‘the snail whisperer’ and only jumped into the sea because Brian the Snail ‘told him to’. The business names Crops and Bobbers, Burger She Wrote and The Codfather – were hilarious. I wish that the boy called Knuckles had been a more important character because he was interesting and the sort of person we all know. I’d give this book 4/5 and would certainly recommend it.

  22. Hang onto your hats – this is a rollercoaster of emotion! One minute I was laughing, the next I was close to tears. There are some loveable characters in this story – Billy, for example, always made me laugh – and I enjoyed the drama. If you don’t read this book, you’re missing out on a fantastic adventure!

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