Flip by Martyn Bedford

Martyn Bedford
Synopsis from Walkers Books:

Ever wake up in someone else’s body?

Fourteen-year-old Alex Gray wakes up one morning to discover he’s not in his own bedroom. More surprising is that he doesn’t recognize his hands, or his legs… When he looks in the mirror he gets the shock of his life! How is it possible that Alex has become another boy – a boy who everyone calls Philip? And how have six whole months passed overnight?
A riveting psychological thriller by a brilliant new voice in children’s books.

For readers aged: 12+
I downloaded this for my Kindle at the beginning of May after browsing in Amazon’s Kindle store.
While there are quite a few movies that deal with ‘body swapping’ I had never read a book with a similar theme and was curious to see how the author would deal with the psychology of a fourteen year old boy (based on the recommended reading age of 12+). Also, this story was obviously not a comedy (as the movies I have watched were)!  I was also drawn to this story having worked with this age group in the education environment (both formally and informally) and my youngest son turning fifteen this year.
From the very beginning the trauma of Alex waking up in Flip’s (Philip’s) body and having to become a part of a family, a life, that he has no conscious knowledge of is traumatic.  I felt Alex’s isolation and bewilderment.  I could understand his reluctance through fear of Googling his name in case he found an article on his ‘body’ dying.  Also totally understandable was the need to visit his real family and his close friend David.
Alex has to learn how to survive in Flip’s life (family, friends, girlfriends, school) building lie after lie.  He is so very different from Flip, not only physically but in the respect he has for other people and in applying his intelligence.  The family dog ‘Beagle’ is the only one showing knowledge he is not Flip with his nipping and growling.  How terrifying!  How can you tell people your soul is not that of Flip’s?  How crazy will people think you are?
We journey with Alex, in Flip’s body, through everyday interactions and finally the knowledge of what has happened and where Flip is.  We see Alex slowly merging into a hybrid of Alex and Flip, sometimes Alex not knowing where he ends and Flip begins. 
I couldn’t guess the ending – couldn’t say for sure what the final resolution was going to be until it happened.  I loved it that some parts of Flip’s life had a future.
Flip is easy to read – the way it is written is brilliant.  I was just on the edge of boredom when off we went in another direction so although there is only one focus in the story, the other issues came along at the right time to hold my interest.  I started reading Flip on Friday and finished it Saturday night (and yes, I did have a life in between reading!).
I found Alex’s story very thought-provoking and it’s prompted me to examine my own life – to look at the minutae of everyday existence – and also how I interact with people!  Aimed at readers aged 12+ ……… I would also recommend it for adults of any age!
Wikipedia has this to say about the Science of body swapping:

While swapping bodies remains fictional as of 2011, scientific research points to the possibility of head transplants, a brain transplant or mind uploading somewhere in the future.
Flip was published by Walker 3 March 2011.
You can find out more about the author on his website.



One thought on “Flip by Martyn Bedford

  1. Now that sounds different. I guess with no humour it could make for an interesting, if not unusual read. Thanks for the recommendation. Always looking for some new material to add to my Kindle.

    CJ xx

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