Opening Line(s): My name is Tracy Beaker. I am 10 years 2 months old. My birthday is on 8 May. It’s not fair, because that dopey Peter Ingham has his birthday then too, so we just got the one cake between us.
Book Cover Blurb: Tracy is ten years old. She lives in a Children’s Home but would like a real home one day, with a real family. Meet Tracy, follow her story and share her hopes for the future in this beautifully observed, touching and often very funny tale, all told in Tracy’s own words.
Genre: Children’s Literature
“I wish you would be my friend, Tracy.”
“I don’t really bother making friends,” I said. “There’s not much point, because my mum’s probably coming to get me soon and then I’ll be living with her so I won’t need any friends here.”
“Oh,” said Peter, and he sounded really disappointed.
“Still. I suppose you can be my friend just for now,” I said.
I don’t know why I said it. Who wants to be lumbered with a silly little creep like that? I’m too kind-hearted, that’s my trouble.
I’m 33, male with no kids and should have zero interest in reading a book where the protagonist is a ten-year-old girl in a children’s home. It’s funny how some books can still cast a spell on you. So was the case with little Tracy Beaker, much maligned, abused and misunderstood by everyone that inhabits her world in the home she affectionately calls ‘The Dumping Ground.’
I’ve gone from the last review which was ‘The Story of a Murderer‘, to ‘The Story of Tracy Beaker‘. Two terrors for completely different reasons. That’s the great thing about the BBC Big Read List of Top 100 Books. There’s a great variety and I’m being exposed to new voices and authors I would otherwise gloss over.
This book was a lot of fun. Supported by a memorable cast, with a special nod to orphan Peter, a shy, lost little boy with a heart of gold who desperately wants to be loved by Tracy.
The book is written in diary form by Tracy and told from her inflated point of view, using her aspiring writer skills to dream up vivid scenarios and paint her to be the unlucky party in most disputes. Underneath the fun and frolics though there are some sad moments especially when she discusses her glamorous mother and makes excuses for the fact she hasn’t visited, namely that she’s on a Hollywood film set shooting on location in France or Spain.
I can’t remember the last time I read a book with illustrations! They were cleverly placed and complemented the text, something I was worried in advance might not show on my Kindle. The author has a great insight into that age group, something that I recently revisited when I discovered my own diary at ten years old.
The huge success of this book has paved the way for others in recent years, most notably Diary of a Wimpy Kid which has spawned countless sequels. (Side note, I bought the Spanish version to help with language learning and it’s really useful especially with the illustrations).
Overall, a great read for kids and one that parents won’t mind getting through too.
Author: Jacqueline Wilson
Other Books Written: Little Stars, Sleepovers, Queenie
Time to Complete: 2 Days
Interesting Fact: Jacqueline Wilson struggled to come up with a surname for her lead character while in the bathroom one morning and searched around for inspiration. She ran through possible names like Tracy Flannel/Soap/Tap/Toothbrush and it was by chance that a Snoopy Beaker was on the bath tub and a star was born!
Rating: 7.5 /10
Next Book: To Kill A Mockingbird, Harper Lee
Part of the BBC Big Read 100 List