Where did the Victorian boy go for answers to his embarrassing problems? That stammer that people made fun of; the bare upper lip when every other boy seemed to be growing a luxuriant moustache. Who could he ask about those troubling thoughts that led to unspeakable temptations? Or about the rabbit or parrot or hamster that seemed on the point of dying for no obvious reason? All these and many more were the questions that the tireless editor of The Boy's Own Paper was faced with in daily sacks of mail, often including parcels of birds' eggs and beetles for identification which the Post Office had crushed beyond recognition. This highly entertaining selection of answers to problems published in The BOP between 1879 and 1900 gives a unique glimpse into the secret worries of Victorian boys, and the brisk, sometimes cruel, ever-amusing way they were dealt with.
Karl Sabbagh is a British writer and television producer. He has written on a wide range of non-fiction subjects and his books include The Living Body, Skyscraper, Power into Art, A Rum Affair, and Dr. Riemann's Zeroes. His most recent book is Palestine: A Personal History. He bought his first volume of The Boy's Own Paper secondhand when he was 15, and been gathering material for "Your Case is Hopeless" ever since.