My Family and Other Freaks by Carol Midgley

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My Family and Other Freaks by Carol Midgley

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Buy My Family and Other Freaks by Carol Midgley at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: Teens
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Robert James
Reviewed by Robert James
Summary: Side-splittingly funny and with some fabulous character development, this is a debut that shouldn't be missed by younger teens or older tweens.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 256 Date: June 2012
Publisher: Quercus
ISBN: 9780857388940

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Danielle has an embarrassing family, a dog who’s in love with an Ugg boot, and a love rival who she can’t possibly live up to – or can she? Determined not to be beaten in her efforts to secure Damien’s affections, Danni hits on a plan – only for it to go horribly wrong, landing her with the nickname of 'Dench The Stench'. Surely things can only get better – can’t they?

Having picked this one up on a whim despite having never heard of it before seeing it on the Bookbag's shelves, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it. Main character Danni is a wonderful narrator, if not a hugely likeable one - capable of changing her opinions in the space of a millisecond, like many twelve-year-olds are, she can be incredibly bratty and isn't a particularly good friend at times. However, she actually develops wonderfully well as a character over the course of the book, she's hugely entertaining to read about, and has a very realistic relationship with her parents and siblings.

I have a bit of an issue here - there's no doubt that I want to strongly recommend this one, I'm just not quite sure who I'm meant to be recommending it to. I think common wisdom suggests that teens normally want to read about children their own age or older, which means many of them might skip this one due to Danni's age. I hope they'll give it a try, thought - because it's one of the funniest books I've read in months. I was originally reading it on the bus to work but had to put it away after 20 pages or so because I was attracting far too many strange looks to cope with at quarter to eight in the morning due to my miserable failure to control my laughter.

If there's one issue I had, there's a tad more of an emphasis on poo than I personally like to read about - although the scene in which Danni accidentally sprays her crush's jeans with dog diarrhea is so funny that it even managed to make me laugh, despite this! That's something of a matter of personal taste, anyway, and will no doubt be the kind of humour that many readers love. There are also a couple of double entendres which will hopefully go over the heads of younger readers but will give older ones a good laugh.

Overall, strong recommendation as one of the relatively few I’ve read recently which manages to balance great humour and excellent character development - I'd love to read a sequel!

While, as I said, the mixture of great character development and really funny humour isn't that common, I've been lucky enough to read two books over the last week which got it spot on. This was one, the other was What Boys Really Want by Pete Hautman.

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Buy My Family and Other Freaks by Carol Midgley at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy My Family and Other Freaks by Carol Midgley at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy My Family and Other Freaks by Carol Midgley at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy My Family and Other Freaks by Carol Midgley at Amazon.com.

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