Ooh, La, La, Connie Pickles by Sabine Durrant
|Ooh, La, La, Connie Pickles by Sabine Durrant
|Reviewer: Zoe Morris
|Summary: Connie and Co are off to Paris for 2 weeks of fun in the French capital, but you can bet the trip won't be without its problems. This is a funny travelogue told through the eyes of an acutely observant teen.
|Date: June 2007
|Publisher: Puffin Books
Connie Pickles is super excited. It's nearly Easter and she's off to Paris for two whole weeks on a school exchange. The romance, the glamour, the je ne sais quoi of the city that never sleeps. She just knows she's going to have a fabulous time.
But... a few hiccups along the way and the adventure isn't looking quite so enticing any more. There's the slight travel faux pas (they end up in the wrong country. Whoops), the politics of her famille Francaise, a kleptomaniac new friend, a reunion with some long lost relatives and various forceful makeovers to contend with, and being actively pursued by 3 mad French boys really doesn't make things that much easier.
Luckily, Connie is predominantly a happy, positive girl, who makes neat observations of her stay in the French capital, and that makes for a diary which is funny, heart-warming and quite, quite eye-opening at times.
Connie is a likeable, pleasant character and the problems she encounters are not especially dangerous or adult in nature, making this a "safe" read for younger girls. Her life revolves around boys, friends and her appearance, but all of these at a reasonably basic level - she wants her host's brother to notice her, and is alarmed by the effect the copious amounts of scrummy French cakes are having on her waistline, for example. It's interesting to read this book if you have also read the author's adult works, because the topics she covers - parent-child relationships, adults having affairs - crop up in both, but the way in which they are presented is neatly tailored to the intended audiences.
Connie's friends - Julie, Delilah, William - are all very nice kids too, and they all live in a simpler world where teenagers get lost on the streets of Paris but it all works out well in the end. In other words, the book is set in an appealing place where I could quite happily lose myself for a few hours.
This book is special because of its unique setting that hasn't been done too often before, but is one with which many readers will be familiar - most teenagers have either been on or know someone who has been on an exchange of some kind. The setting of Paris is exciting and surprisingly rare for books aimed at teenagers, and the new vocab Connie logs each day is both entertaining and educational - I now just need to manage to work on est interdir de sortie and une salope into conversation.
Ooh la la is the second book in the Connie Pickles set, but you do not really need to have read the first, Cross Your Heart, Connie Pickles to appreciate this one. If anything, I think this, the sequel, is even a bit better than Cross Your Heart. The characters are mainly the same, but the setting of the second book really appealed to me. That said, I am sure those who liked the original will certainly enjoy the sequel.
Thank you to the publishers for supplying this book.
My So Called Life is another diary that is fun to read for girls of this sort of age (11years plus) though older readers might prefer Planet Janet. Grown ups might prefer Durrant's adult titles such as Having It and Eating It, and The Great Indoors both of which are great holiday reads.
You can read more book reviews or buy Ooh, La, La, Connie Pickles by Sabine Durrant at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
You can read more book reviews or buy Ooh, La, La, Connie Pickles by Sabine Durrant at Amazon.com.
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