One Shot by Tanya Landman

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One Shot by Tanya Landman

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Category: Dyslexia Friendly
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: John Lloyd
Reviewed by John Lloyd
Summary: A lovely origin story for an earthbound superhero a lot of girls will find it very easy to look up to. Boys too will find this inherently readable.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 120 Date: March 2019
Publisher: Barrington Stoke
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 9781781128510

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Pa and I understood each other. Our souls were cut from the same cloth. But Pa has since died, leaving Maggie very much alone in her family. She was the only one of three children who looked like him, and none of the others acted like him, and certainly his wife didn't seem to fully understand him. Maggie might as well be reliving the Cinderella story, stuck with two siblings and mother that are fully against her. But at least she can sneak out at night, and shoot some game to stop them from starving? Well, no, not where her mother is concerned – the very idea of a female shooting things, when they could be preparing for a life of unhappy married drudgery, is just scandalous.

The ungrateful sow then pushes Maggie away from the family, and unknowingly into the jaws of much worse. But Maggie survives, and forever tries to find her home with her feet under her parent's table. But it just ain't gonna happen. Until finally she takes the bull by the horns, and starts to show her true worth, to her world, to her disinterested mother, and to herself.

This is a wonderful tale. Taking us so easily back to a rarefied time, and giving a young woman a superheroic quality seldom of interest (certainly one that is less read about away from the huntin' shootin' and fishin' States of the US), this works really well. It is guardedly talked of as being inspired by Annie Oakley's life story, although it seems a lot of the relevant details to that were things she refused to talk about. This might be close to the truth or sheer supposition, but I couldn't really care – what I did care about was Maggie, her plight, and how easily absorbed I was in this narrative.

You may well have seen this comes from Barrington Stoke, chief providers of fiction to those with reading disabilities, such as dyslexia. Their experts have deemed this to read like a book for a nine year old, but to be of appeal to teens and above. That's important detail for those buying for a specialist purpose, but it's also where a word of warning needs to come in. In being for a teen reader, there is a couple of instances of the 's-' word, as it used to be called, and one very nasty event, which fortunately is conveyed with consummate class. As a result it might serve being hidden on a higher shelf than other books a nine year old can read unsupervised.

But anyone of the right age audience should be interested in this. The story is very much one of a novella, in that little seems to stand in Maggie's way that isn't the mother she keeps returning to. The horror scene aside, the progression of her career is perhaps a little linear. But this shows how simple language can convey a rich character, and get us right into the mind of a girl who didn't realise quite what she had to offer, and who didn't care that what she did have was unwelcome or ahead of its time. It's a very aspirational tale, with much that affirms the 'you can do anything' moral. But most importantly it's a greatly entertaining tale.

I must thank the publishers for my review copy.

Author and publisher previously combined for a dyslexia-friendly look back at historical America with Passing for White.

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Buy One Shot by Tanya Landman at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy One Shot by Tanya Landman at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy One Shot by Tanya Landman at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy One Shot by Tanya Landman at


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