Warning: Contains Spoilers!
‘S’pose next you’ll be telling me your lot’re goin’ to win the war for us.’
Aufwader’s Thoughts: So the truth comes out. Ted has made some sort of mystical pact, and Neil is now lumbered with his teddy bear’s existential quest through time.
Among many intriguing questions this raises, there’s this: which three, out of the four people, are set to die? If Ted is indeed the soul of Angelo the GI in small and kapok-stuffed form, what terrible guilt does he carry with him? Is it pretty Jean he mourns, or his best buddy Frank (an Oswald if ever there was one, and, like little Josh, completely undeserving of whatever supernatural nonsense is about to come his way.) Or will Kath turn out to be more important than either? Only time will tell.
As a last note, my top two moments in this chapter have to be the use of ‘treacle’ as a verb, and Angelo’s snort-worthy line, ‘who wants to be surrounded by a museum?’ You tell us, Signorelli.
Matt’s Thoughts: Great, great setup here. Also, I had been thinking the last few chapters that Ted had a particularly obnoxious American accent – very much as if he were an extra on The Sopranos – so I was somewhat glad to find the character of Angelo is very much Italian-American. (Sorry, that’s not a spoiler, is it? Surely everyone else guessed that Angelo is Ted before he became a furry?)
Maybe it slows the story down a bit, but the clash of cultures between the two Americans and the two East End girls is greeat, not to mention the little details that not all of us know. Well, maybe all the rest of the British readers know about this, but some of it was new to me. I didn’t think of the fact that people would still head out in a blackout to do things around town like movies and pubs, but clearly they did. (Which makes sense, really. You’d be so stressed by the goings-on that of course you’d want to do something that escapes it.)
Finally, mention of the Bethnal Green underground station took me back to my times in London back in 2016, because we would often jump off the bus and head down that tube station. Which – as I write this – has just reminded me of a historical plaque I saw at the tube station which has pretty much foreshadowed where this book might be going. But I’ll get back to that later.
But if only I knew, I would have taken a picture of the plaque while I was on holidays! Little did I know that nearly every day, I was passing through another Jarvis location.
Anyway, if you are visiting London, I do highly recommend visiting Bethnal Green, and particularly the Victoria & Albert Museum of Childhood which is right nearby.