Books that Twitter told me to read. #1

New Beginnings by Rebecca Emin.

In a case of “does not do exactly what it says on the tin” I think I was linked to this book via Facebook. But it was MmeLindor who did it so that is reasonably Twitter-ish. I saw the post on the train, failed to download it, got it the next day only to find that if I had succeeded in connecting to Amazon on the first day it would have been free. C’est la vie, and all that. I’m happy to give a few pennies to an author who has been recommended by one of my imaginary friends.

I don’t remember anything about this book. The author is on Twitter, her last few tweets don’t have anything controversial in them, she’s from Oxfordshire, that’s about it. I guess I’d better start reading.

Chapter one comments:

A girl is starting a new school, she’s worried that she won’t make any friends. So far she hasn’t, but one girl (with her two backup girls) seems to have taken a disliking to her.
Things we know:

  • Sam has just left primary school, so is probably 11 years old
  • This is a girls-only school. Not sure if that is going to be brought up but her brother and sister are both at the same primary school so that is a change
  • She likes English and drama, setting her up as a creative type
  • She voluntarily writes reviews of films she has seen for fun, so she’ll enjoy schoolwork
  • Her parents have saved up to be able to afford this school, so she will probably experience some money-based issues later
  • The book is written in third person but it doesn’t seem as if we will see anything that Sam doesn’t see.
  • I am a little worried that this will be just a school story. I don’t mind a nice story about how money doesn’t matter and people who are mean will get their comeuppance and beige a kind person will see you through, but I’d rather read something that has a bit more conflict than “she stuck her tongue out at me”  or “I asked politely for her to pass the gravy but she gave me sweet and sour sauce which I hate”.

Update: Mean Molly might not be mad at Sam, she might be mad at the world (according to an unusually-perceptive 11 yr old). Does she have “issues”? Is Sam going to heal her with the power of friendship?

Update: Reading books without remembering why you are reading them is a good recipe for giving out an ill-deserved and ill-mannered first reaction. I feel a little embarrassed, as if I were Kevin the Teenager saying booo-ring.

I haven’t finished the book yet (I’ve not been commuting this week so I have been reading some of my paper books) but I have made sufficient progress to determine that this is a well-researched and most likely much-needed book on dealing with bullying. So if that’s what you are in the market for, it’s probably very good. Still no wizards or ghosts though. That’s probably a good thing, as the bullying has escalated and wizard schoolchildren have more dangerous weapons at their disposal than a simple stuck-out-foot to fall over.

Final update: I finished the book on the train yesterday. Plus points for the” I don’t care what you think because I have other things in my life that are far more important”. Minus points for the deus ex machina. Taking your diary of bullying to a teacher is good but I doubt it is usually the end of things. Certainly it won’t magically make your bully appear with a letter saying sorry. I suppose from that stage on every situation is different.

Also: if you had a 13 yr old son how would you feel about him kissing his little sister’s 11 yr old friend “to make a point”? I remember being in secondary school but I still don’t think the mother would have been so sanguine.

If you want to read a book about bullying (or if you know someone who needs to) you would probably do well to choose one set in the present day, like this. It does touch on modern communication methods like email and mobile phones, although there’s no mention of the misuse of these or any cyber bullying.

If you don’t want to read a book about bullying, then this probably isn’t the book you are looking for.


5 thoughts on “Books that Twitter told me to read. #1

  1. I just wanted to say thanks for featuring my book even if it isn’t exactly your cup of tea.

    One thing’s for sure; I’m glad I use Twitter if people chose to read my book purely because of what they have seen on there.

    Thanks again.

    • I haven’t finished it yet!

      I think my main problem is that I found it on my Kindle, with no blurb or front page picture to give me a clue as to what it was, and just remembered “MmeL recommended this”. So I didn’t know what I was getting into. I used to read Malory Towers and things like that so it’s not as if I’ve never read a school story without the added extra of wizards or ghosts or murderers. 🙂

      • That’s strange – the copy on my Kindle definitely has the cover photo.

        There’s definitely no wizards or ghosts I’m afraid… but it’s not all about school. 🙂

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