Sunday, 4 December 2011
Author: Simon Mason
Publisher: David Fickling Books
Release Date: 7 April 2011
Eleven-year-old Martha is used to being the one who has to keep their head.
Tug, her little brother, is too small. Dad is too strange. And Mum's not here any more.
So when Dad falls off the roof, it's Martha who ices his knee and takes him to the doctor. And when Dad doesn't come home, it's Martha who cooks Tug's favourite pie and reads him his bedtime story. And when Dad passes out, it's Martha who cleans him up and keeps his secret.
But eventually Dad's problems become too big for even Martha to solve. There is only one person who can sort things out now. Dad.
This is another book that has been nominated for Children's Book of the Year with our Children's Book Group. I am reading all the shortlist first before they are given to the Children. Aimed at 8-12 year olds.
Martha is 11 and has a lot of responsibility, she's used to being in charge and staying calm, since her mum dies she's had to help look after her 5 year old brother Tug and also care for her dad who keeps acting 'strange'. This is principally a story about Alcoholism, and toldd through Martha's point of view. It's really chilling but also heart warming to see her discover what's wrong with her dad and also work to try and 'fix' everything. Tug offers a bit of comic relief but also pulls your heart strings - his view of events is very often focused on food and sleep - the main focus of any young child, but when he asks Martha about his Dad and what will happen to them, it melts your heart.
For a children's book it is quite a strong topic - but I know there are a lot of kids that go through this sort of thing so this helps others and them have an understanding of what is happening to them.
I didn't think I would like this book and for the first 50 or so pages I still wasn't sure, but I became connected to Martha and wanted to know what happened to her and little Tug.
This is one of those books that I would suggest parents read with their children so if they have any questions, you can answer them, Also good for discussion.
Not everyone's cup of tea, but a good heart-felt story. Well researched and delicately handled. Kudos to the writer for handling such a sensitive subject.
I would give this book 7/10, the plot and storyline is good and the subject matter is handled well. Overall a good book. Hard to rate accurately.
Posted by barmybex at 19:33