Saturday, November 07, 2009
Candyfloss by Jacqueline Wilson
by Jacqueline Wilson
1596432411 / 9781596432413
Juvenile or Middle grade (grades 4-8)
This book would work well for both juvenile and middle grade readers. Written by Jacqueline Wilson, who was already enormously popular in Great Britain, this marked her debut in the United States.
Flossie's mom has remarried and is living prosperously with a new husband and baby. But Flossie's dad, though close to 40, just hasn't gotten his life together. Overweight, depressed, and hanging on by a thread, he's his own worst enemy.
When Flossie's mom and stepdad have the chance to move to Sydney for six months, they expect Flossie to go with them. Except that's not what Flossie wants. After a lot of pleading, she finally convinces her mom to allow her to stay with her father in London.
Whereas Flossie had been popular and well-groomed before, she's soon going to school looking unkempt and smelling of her father's greasy-spoon cafe. She loses her status-conscious friends, but later makes friends with Susan, who is a better, truer friend. After numerous trials that end with Flossie and her dad being destitute and all but homeless, he is finally jolted into seeing how far he's sunk, and begins to repair his broken life. He meets Rose, his true match, who is a fortune-teller and cotton-candy maker with a traveling carnival. Flossie, a likable character, suffers all this hardship with aplomb, and learns some important lessons along the way. Readers will cheer when she finally sees her ex-best friend for the bully and snob that she really is.
Many readers will identify with Flossie. I certainly would've, when I was that age. My strata of society wasn't about boarding school, designer clothes or European vacations, which is what trendy MG and YA fiction is about today, but rather working class people who lived from paycheck to paycheck and did the best they could with the cards they were dealt--just like Flossie and her father.
If you read this book, did you enjoy it?