All my men ISBN: 9780140311310
Published by O.U.P., 1977
Paul has only recently moved from London to a small town in Kent, and he is anxious to get in with the right boys at school - the ones who play football, his main interest. His parents are immersed in their new corner shop, so busy they can give him little attention. From the outset it is apparent that Billy, the leader of the footballers is arrogant and a bully, but Paul is so anxious to placate him that he submits to blackmail and steals sweets for him from his parents' shop. Another lad, Arthur, a bookish type, tries to make friends with Paul, and for a time they work together on a school project. But Paul is keener to be with the soccer playing boys until he finally sees that being himself is more important than following an unworthy leader. With the help of Arthur and his grandfather and the school project, Paul stands up to Billy and comes to terms with his new life. A solid and sensitive read.