The Many Worlds of Albie Bright is a read-in-one-sitting book which, if I was eleven, would have been finished way past my bedtime, under the covers, torch in hand. It’s a book to devour; Christopher Edge’s writing invites a turn of the page and has that very readable sense of ‘just one more paragraph, just to the end of the page, just finish the chapter…’.
This makes it a great read for any 8-12 year old. What makes this a must for every school library and book corner, is not just its ‘readability’ but the subject matter which illuminates two big themes; grief and science.
Albie’s Mum, a successful scientist, has died and his Dad, also a scientist, retreats further and further into his work and, in doing so, drifts further and further from Alfie. And, as the advert goes, here comes the science: Alfie explores the world of quantum physics and creates a device which enables him to travel to parallel worlds, in a desperate hunt to find his Mum.
This is a notch or two above your average time travel book, as the author weaves in the theory which underpins quantum physics. Like me, the author isn’t a scientist, which probably helps – the science is explained in a way that just about makes sense (the ‘just about’ is down entirely to the limits of my scientific understanding, not a reflection on the author’s intellectual powers).
The science of quantum physics is extraordinary, mind-expanding; this is just the kind of book that may intrigue the next Brian Cox or Stephen Hawking. But ‘Albie Bright’ is more than just a scientific manual-turned-novel. It asks questions and makes us reflect upon life and death, whether there’s a heaven and that painful reality that tells us, no matter how much we discover about this world or any other world, the most important thing is having someone close, who loves us as much as the universe itself.
This is a book that will make you think – it’s a book that will also make you smile.