This is a very original quest story. Chester Parsons has lost his body and his quest is to get it back before he forgets himself. Like all burgeoning actors, Chester loves pretending to be someone else, but, when he visits a therapist to help with his stagefright, he discovers he has the power to do much more than just pretend!
Chester is a mind-jumper, and has the power to enter the body of any other person or animal. With this extraordinary ability realised, Chester and his sister agree that the best thing to do is sign up with a production company and make films of Chester’s antics. This proves very successful, and videos of Chester controlling the bodies of squirrels and badgers, and possessing badgers and horses, and making all kinds of animals do all kinds of crazy things, are instant social media hits. However, Chester soon loses control when, while inside the mind of a gorilla, someone steals his body.
This cues up a race-against-time adventure, as Chester charges around town inside the body of a giant gorilla, trying to track down his body before he is stuck inside his furry prison forever! Chester teams up with a collection of hilarious helpers, who provide comic relief. A gormless, cocky, cockney detective is accompanied by an extremely exuberant TV producer and several very, very weird physic, mind-bender types, and all of them have their own motivation for helping Chester (or not!).
Though there is lots of fun to be had from accompanying a young boy as he sees life through the eyes of animals, and of his older sister (gross!), the most enjoyment comes from the strong sense of jeopardy as Chester’s search uncovers increasingly dark secrets, with implications far beyond just himself. The book confronts moral questions about what makes us who we are, in an accessible and provocative way, and would be a great one for children to share with one another or with adults. Chester Parsons is not a gorilla – or isn’t he?