Lara Williamson, goodbye isn't always the end

Published on: 24 October 2016 Author: Lara Williamson

The Boy Who Sailed the Ocean in an Armchair featured as one of our Bookbuzz books in 2016.  Author Lara Williamson tells us about her hero Becket Rumsey and his journey. It's not plain sailing but then what journeys ever are...

Lara Williamson

Starting at senior school or becoming a teenager is a new journey, a new beginning and time to say goodbye to the past and move forward. Sometimes it goes smoothly and you sail through but sometimes it's difficult to let go. That's how it feels for Becket Rumsey. He's on a new journey too because he needs to figure out how to let go of the past and say goodbye to his mother, who he lost many years before.

Meanwhile, his dad has run away with him and his little brother Billy and they've left behind Pearl, their Dad's girlfriend and their 'almost mum'. Becket is confused. This is another goodbye he hasn't said and he has no idea what's going on - it's a mystery.

So with the help of his little brother Billy they set up a detective agency and set off on a journey of discovery aided by a snail called Brian. They're determined to find out what happened to Pearl and along the way say goodbye to their mother. There are many twists and turns along the way but thanks to Becket telling Billy an armchair of stories they manage to negotiate many obstacles.

This is a story full of humour, heartbreak and hope and was inspired by the journey of saying lots of different goodbyes in my life. Some have been happy goodbyes with lots of laughs and 'moving forward to new horizons' goodbyes and some have been sad goodbyes that bring rivers of tears and use up boxes of tissues. It's impossible to go through life escaping saying goodbye at some point and the book is based around this.

But with each goodbye in my life I realised it wasn't the end because I grew stronger and I moved forward and I felt like I'd navigated obstacles and sailed on to a new horizon. Will the same happen to Becket and Billy? Will their goodbye signal a new start? And when they reach their destination will it be what they expected?


Bookbuzz is a reading programme from BookTrust that aims to help schools inspire a love of reading in 11 to 13-year-olds. Participating schools give their students the opportunity to choose their own book to take home and keep from a list of 16 titles.

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