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Posts Tagged ‘Mothers and Daughters’

Baby Love by Jacqueline Wilson. Pub. Penguin , 2022

April 7, 2022 Comments off

The best novel for teenage and pre teen girls I have read for a long time. No surprise really , nobody writes better realism about girls facing challenges in their lives than Jacqueline Wilson.

The novel is set in 1959/60 when community morals were much different than they are today. Horribly so in fact. Jacqueline Wilson unravels the community morality of the era with the story of Laura a 14yr old who comes from a poor working class family.

They live in a prefab home which is tidy and clean and both parents work to live and better themselves but money is tight. Laura wins a scholarship to a grammar school because she is bright and this puts her in contact with Nina a rich upper class girl whose parents are both doctors and whose lifestyles blow Laura away. Laura’s parents particularly her mother like the relationship at first but then feel threatened by it.

Nina is sophisticated and talks about boys and kissing and sex. This is all new to the innocent Laura but she starts to feel sexual attraction with a crush on Nina’s older teenage brother. On a trip to a swimming pool Nina attracts the attention of two visiting French boys and tells them that her and Laura are 16 yrs old. The girls split with Laura being walked home via a park and cricket pavilion by the French boy. He kisses her and she likes what she feels but things go further than she wants or can understand.

The rest you can say is history. Laura doesn’t understand the changes that are taking place in her body with sickness in the morning and strange movements in her tummy. When things come out she has to tell her mother who is totally horrified at the shame that Laura has brought her family. She whips her daughter out of school before anybody knows and into a welfare home for teenage girls in the same predicament.

At 5 months pregnant Laura has to survive with other girls who have had their babies or are waiting to have theirs and questions of keeping the baby or adopting it out are discussed. Laura has decisions to make but will they be the same ones her parents want? Her parents stress that the baby will change Laura’s chances in life “Nobody will want you now” her mother says. But what will Laura do?

There is heartbreak in this novel and at the back there is information for teenage mothers on all the issues that surround their pregnancies, who to consult and what to do.

At nearly 500 pages this is a big read but it is easy and you will not want to put it down. The relationships between the girls and their mothers is eye opening but Jacqueline Wilson with her easy style keeps the reader in the book with her clever, perceptive story writing. I talked about it with my pre teen granddaughter and she practically ripped it out of my hands.

If you miss this one you will kick yourself.

Mice by Gordon Reece

February 7, 2011 Leave a comment

Mice by Gordon Reece. Pub.Allen & Unwin, 2010.

Shelley and her mother are victims in life. They call themselves mice because they are timid and people have taken advantage of them. But this is going to stop. There is a saying that “the meek shall inherit the earth” if it is ok by you. In this book the meek take control.

Shelley is 15 years old she is artistic and clever and has had the same group of friends for years. When puberty arrives these same friends turn on Shelley and she is bullied mercilessly so that she has to leave school and be tutored at home.

Shelley’s mother is also artistic and clever. She is married to a lawyer (Shelley’s father) who is less able than her and knows it. When the father finds a younger woman out go Shelley and her mother with the worst kind of divorce settlement.

They survive and buy a cottage in the country and begin what for both of them is an idyllic life.

On the eve of Shelley’s 16th birthday they have an intruder who is drugged to the eyeballs, carries a big knife and wants everything they have got. The mice qualities at first come to the surface in the two women, but the burglar crosses the line and the mice roar.

Brilliant stuff. This is a suspense thriller come psych drama that will have you on the edge of your seat to the end. The writing is brilliant from a new writer to me.

Will appeal to secondary students and young adults. This is a thrilling novel.

Life on the Refrigerator door by Alice Kuipers

Life on the Refrigerator door by Alice Kuipers. Pub. MacMillan, 2007.

The title tells you almost everything you need to know about this novel but I am going to try to tell you a little bit more, and avoid giving the show away.

It is a mother and daughter novel. Claire is 15 years old and she lives with her mother who is a doctor specialising in childbirth. Because babies tend to come at any time of day, Claire and her mother rarely see each other and communicate by leaving notes on, you guessed it, the refrigerator door.

Sometime the notes are as banal as asking each other to collect groceries or to discuss the livelihood of their pet rabbit Peter.

Then something serious happens to the mother and Claire discovers boys. The notes now get more meaningful and a wider range of emotions are expressed. That is it. You will have to read it to find out more.

This is an easy read which you could finish in one sitting. For the reluctant girl reader of high school age, it is ideal. I enjoyed it even though the emotion was a bit much for a manly bloke like me.