Darcy Burdock by Laura Dockrill

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Darcy Burdock by Laura Dockrill

Buy Darcy Burdock by Laura Dockrill at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Robert James
Reviewed by Robert James
Summary: Hit and miss voice make this slice of life story a maybe for me. There are some really good points, with well-written child characters, but one-dimensional adults don't help it.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 288 Date: February 2012
Publisher: Corgi Children's
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0552566070

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Shortlisted for Waterstone's Best Fiction for 5-12s 2014

Darcy Burdock is a ten-year-old girl who sees the extraordinary in the everyday. This is her first book, a story about her life, complete with her own short stories and pictures.

This was a really frustrating book both to read and review. Laura Dockrill, better known as a poet and illustrator, has definitely hit the mark at times in this novel, with some great lines – I loved Darcy’s description of herself as a mermalade, because she thinks of herself as part magical, like a mermaid, and part ordinary, like marmalade. Some of the stories she writes are also really good, with Dockrill capturing the voice of a ten-year-old author well.

At other times, though, that voice is the thing that lets the book down. It’s not consistent enough and there tend to be a few points at which it completely lost me because it didn’t seem like anything I’d expect even a mature girl of Darcy’s age to come out with.

The characters, again, vary between really good and one-dimensional. For the most part, the other kids are well-handled, with Darcy’s relationship with her eight-year-old sister being particularly deftly captured. Darcy talks about being proud of her sometimes, but other times wanting her to fall over her skipping rope and smash her teeth out – a forceful image to describe sibling rivalry. The adults, though, especially Darcy’s parents, are rather one-dimensional and never feel all that realistic.

As well, there doesn’t seem to be all that much of a point to the book. It’s a slice of life story which just meanders along, with the ending falling flat for me. That’s not to say it’s bad – if anything, reading back over this review I wonder if I’ve perhaps been a bit harsh on the book. I’m sure that some children will find Darcy an engaging enough narrator to really enjoy this one. For me, the voice issues and the weak adult characters make it a difficult one to go out of my way to recommend when there are so many wonderful books out there for children of a similar target age range.

Two contemporaries for a similar age range which I really enjoyed were I'm Dougal Trump... and it's not my fault! by Dougal Trump and Pea's Book of Best Friends by Susie Day

Buy Darcy Burdock by Laura Dockrill at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Darcy Burdock by Laura Dockrill at Amazon.co.uk

Buy Darcy Burdock by Laura Dockrill at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Darcy Burdock by Laura Dockrill at Amazon.com.


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