Many 15 year-old boys are disillusioned. But not many leave home, telling their parents: “I’m bored with my life. Please don’t try to find me. I’ll be back within a year.”
Arthur Heeler-Frood disappeared on Tuesday, 6th September after leaving home to go to school.
He has recently been found, two months later and 10 miles from his rural Devon home, although apparently en route back to his parents.
The pieces of his adventurous jigsaw are being pieced together, but it sounds as though George Orwell was Master Heeler Frood’s inspiration. He had been reading Down and Out in Paris and London, and – like Orwell – had also been washing up in a restaurant kitchen.
In the iconic book, Orwell’s largely autobiographical novel tells of the underbelly of society in both capital cities.
The author’s 15 year-old disciple apparently spent time walking around England’s three largest cities – London, Manchester and Birmingham.
Other details will no doubt emerge over time, and perhaps Arthur’s adventures will also form the basis of his own novel in later years. But – forgetting the obvious distress for his parents, family and friends – how refreshing that a 21st century boy has been so inspired by a book from the 1930s, rather than by a rap video downloaded from YouTube.