The Leading Magazine for Primary Educators
Publisher: David Fickling Books
Tales of dysfunctional family units are hardly a rarity amongst books aimed at the 9+ age group – however, Simon Mason’s wonderful lightness of touch makes this novel exceptional. His ability never to lose sight of life’s wonder and charm, even when describing the most painful of realities, keeps him thoroughly connected with his 11-year-old protagonist, determined to take care of her brother following her mother’s death, as her father becomes increasingly ‘strange’. There’s no hint of mawkishness, nor is a word wasted – Martha’s dad’s journey to the heart of alcoholism and back again is described subtly and with total authenticity, as endearing eccentricity tips over into a confusing and frightening lack of security. Profoundly, achingly sad – yet also warm, funny and uplifting – this should become a classic.