May 16th, 2009


Three Jacqueline Wilson Books: Tracy Beaker, Double Act, Vicky Angel

Back in 2003 when the BBC did their Big Read project, four books by Jacqueline Wilson turned up on the Top 100 list (these three and Girls in Love, which is for slightly older readers). I had never heard of her; I made a mental note that she represented one of those odd corners of literature I might someday catch up with.

Well, that was six years ago. Since then, young F became aware of the BBC television series based on The Story of Tracy Beaker, so I mooched it and the other two in the same age bracket for him, and took the morning off my other reading (Rhetorics of Fantasy by Farah Mendlesohn, and Wicked by Gregory Maguire, having just reached the point where the former references the latter) to read them myself.

They are very good.

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These three books all deal with difficult Issues - being abandoned by your own family (and wishful thinking about a new mother); getting used to a stepmother (and establishing your own identity); the death of a friend (and facing up to the problems of your parents' marriage). But I wouldn't want to give the impression that this is all they are about, let alone that they are tough to read. Wilson's particular gift is to show her readers that there is more than one side of the story, and that even a sympathetic first-person narrator can be completely wrong-headed at times. It is an important lesson for life, and she does it with skill and humour.

Eurovision '09

I missed the first ten entries, and can't really be bothered to liveblog as assiduously as I did last year, but I recommend that you follow ias here and nmg here, presumably from opposite ends of their sofa. And watch it here, of course!