20 May, 2014

Book Review: My Life as an Alphabet

From Goodreads: This isn't just about me. It's also about the other people in my life - my mother, my father, my dead sister Sky, my penpal Denille, Rich Uncle Brian, Earth-Pig Fish and Douglas Benson From Another Dimension. These are people [with the exception of Earth-Pig Fish, who is a fish] who have shaped me, made me what I am. I cannot recount my life without recounting elements of theirs. This is a big task, but I am confident I am up to it.
Introducing Candice Phee: twelve years old, hilariously honest and a little ... odd. But she has a big heart, the very best of intentions and an unwavering determination to ensure everyone is happy. So she sets about trying to 'fix' all the problems of all the people [and pets] in her life.

Thoughts: This is the second of the younger readers books I am reading as part of the Children's Book Council short list. Candice's teacher has asked teh class to write about themselves, starting each paragraph with a different letter of the alphabet. Candice decides she will do a chapter for each letter and thus begins a look into the life of this lovely, quirky child, her family and her school life.
Candice is dealing with quite a few things - a dead sister, a depressed mother, a lack of friends (except for Douglas Benson from another dimension)and a father who is estranged from his brother, Candice's rich Uncle Brian. Through it all she keeps upbeat, looking for solutions - some which work and others that fail spectacularly.
Barry Jonsberg never gives Candice a diagnosis, preferring to allow her to be "just me". It would be easy for adults reading the book to give an amateur diagnosis of  Asperger's, but I think most kids reading the book wouldn't even consider it, even missing the one clumsy reference by a teacher to it being a possibility.
On the whole, My Life as an Alphabet is a lovely read and well deserves it's place on the shortlist.