Having just missed one hundred books in the first year of The Book Challenge, in 2010, I made the full tonne. Still reading, but without the challenge, take a look at the reviews for the books that I have read this year.

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Book 11 - Love Lessons

(note:  this is a review taken from the challenge that I undertook with my year seven class in 2013.  See here for my explanation of it.  This one has a proper edit at the end as well.)

Book - Love Lessons
Author - Jacqueline Wilson
Year - 2007
Genre - Romance
Pages - 264

This book was the recommendation of Sophie.  I am aware of Jacqueline Wilson - she was my little sister's favourite author as she was growing up, and as a result there were loads of her books around our house - and I have read one or two of her books.  However, she is a very prolific writer so there will always be plenty more to go, and this was not a book that I had come across before.

Prudence and her sister Grace are home schooled by their overbearing father, but when Prudence starts to rebel against him, he suffers from a stroke.  Whilst he recovers in hospital there is no option for Grace and Pru to start at the local secondary school, but for someone who has spent almost her entire life being schooled from home, Pru has a lot of difficulty fitting in, and causes plenty of problems along the way.

Wilson is famous for writing books for children about real issues, and in that regard, all of the books that I have read before by her have done very well.  There are believable real characters and no punches are pulled when it comes to talking about the world.  However, I found this book to be less real, and at times rather uncomfortable.  Prudence herself is not a particularly likable character, and she starts to grate from rather early in the book.  You can understand why, but it does not do a lot to improve the readers enjoyment of the book.  As the story goes on it becomes morally dubious and I am not sure that it is a book that I would ever recommend.

As an author, Wilson is still incredible, and I would recommend that you try reading one of her books - maybe Double Trouble or one of the Tracey Beaker books, but I cannot say that this book was one that I particularly enjoyed or would suggest you read.

(edit:  The thing I didn't really want to go into here with regards to the review appearing on a blog for a year seven class, is that this book goes a bit beyond being 'morally dubious' as I suggest above.  The main thread of the story is about the lead character, a teenage schoolgirl, falling for her teacher, and him reciprocating.  I tend to believe that there is no problem with promoting some serious issues in books for teenagers, so would applaud this approach by Wilson - indeed something she is well known for doing - if it were not for the fact that she treats this as though it is something perfectly natural, and there are no consequences for anyone as a result of it.  I didn't like the insinuations behind this, and as a huge children's author, I actually found it pretty irresponsible of Wilson to suggest that it is the kind of thing that is not a problem.  It is treated like no big deal by the end of the book, when in actuality he is predatory and in real life his actions would have had a lasting effect on this girl. I can't believe that someone of Wilson's standing would not make a point of suggesting that anyone in that situation should talk to someone about it rather than thinking it will all be fine.)
4/10

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