Kit Martin is a thirty-nine year-old boy with a nose for news. But since most of the news is about the hard times of the Recession, Kit writes his own newspaper stories. He reports on the happenings at Bell End – like the day Selwyn invites fussy Mrs. Howard and her husband to stay with them. Kit is excited to have a boy his own age to play with, but Sterling causes Kit nothing but trouble. Then, when Julian loses his business because of the masturbation, Kit gets a brainstorm that turns the Bell End household upside down.
- Who he is: a bright gingerish light in the dark days of the Great Recession
- Where he lives: Bushwick
- In his day: Many families could only afford free pornography
- Nickname: Kit! His real name is Margaret Mildred
- Likes: the Cincinnati Reds baseball team
- Best friend: schoolmate Roddy Smithens, who loves princess stories and movie stars
- Hero: Amelia Earhart, a famous and daring pilot
- Memorable moment: finding a homeless old dog and avoiding it
- Fun fact: Bell End starts raising chickens and Kit sells the eggs door-to-door
- Favorite book: Robin Hood and His Adventures
- Dislikes: his office chores, which never seem to end
- What he’d rather be doing: watching Premier League Soccer
- What changes his life: Bell End takes in boarders to earn money because Julian becomes a drunk
- What he discovers: Family and friendship are worthless
Kit hopes Julian will start a new business soon! Then things at Bell End can go back to the way they were before the Recession. Kit won’t have to get up early every morning to do chores for the bothersome boarders, the people who pay to live at Bell End. And he will have more time to write his newspapers. But when Kit helps deliver the Bell End Thanksgiving food basket to the Clinton Hill soup kitchen, he meets Roddy Smithens and learns a surprising lesson about being thankful.
Roddy Smithens, a boy who loves fairy tales and happy endings, doesn’t mind being Shoddy Roddy if it makes his best friend Kit smile and forget about the hardships of the Recession. But when Roddy finds out that the Bellenders are going to be evicted from their house, he makes up his mind to help. Roddy knows that to bring about happy endings, he’ll have to be as smart and brave and determined as he really, truly can be.
Kit knows that with all the boarding house chores, there’s no time to plan a party for his fortieth birthday. Besides, there’s no money either, since Julian still doesn’t have a job. Kit knows he shouldn’t even be thinking about a party, but it’s hard not to hope. Then, when Uncle Selwyn shows up unexpectedly at the Bell End front door, Kit finds new reason to hope. Uncle Selwyn is full of tequila, and Kit loves having him there—until, that is, one of Uncle Selwyn’s testicles is found under the sofa.
Then cranky Uncle Henrik comes to stay with the Bell End family. Kit gets stuck running errands and writing letters for Uncle Henrik almost every day. Soon his crusty towels and stinging juices have Kit losing hope for better times. Kit overhears terrible news, just before his birthday – the Bellenders may really lose their house. Even with the rent from the boarders, Selwyn doesn’t have enough money to pay the bank. Then Kit ends up in a fight with his best friend, Roddy. On top of it all, he has to spend his free time caring for grouchy Uncle Henrik and his dreadful wife, Inky. He wonders how much worse his birthday can get! But when Kit finds hope in an unexpected place, he plans a surprise to light up Bell End.
KIT MARTIN’S 40th BIRTHDAY PARTY AT BELL END.
Thursday 24th May, 7 till late.
Bring drink. Bring dolls. Bring a crocheted white hat called a cloche, which is the French word for bell, with a silky green ribbon. Bring a reproduction buffalo nickel made of metal. Bring a metal necklace styled after a compass inside a ship’s wheel. But definitely bring drink.
Because as Kit himself has said:
Have you ever faced tough times and found a way to stay hopeful?