I Am So Over Being a Loser by Jim Smith
|I Am So Over Being a Loser by Jim Smith|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: John Lloyd|
|Summary: With whole shelves devoted to British Wimpy Kid-style, reluctant-reader cartoony books, it's unfortunate that this one stands out for being nowhere near as effortless as the others.|
|Buy? No||Borrow? Maybe|
|Pages: 240||Date: August 2013|
|Publisher: Jelly Pie|
There's not a lot in Barry Loser's life right now to recommend it. Leaving aside his awkward surname, there's the fact that not many people like him at school, he can't remember show-and-tell, he can't think of a decent thing to start collecting when the whole class decides the geeky girl with the large stamp album is on to a winner, and most importantly his mother's now the star of a whole series of embarrassing adverts for the local supermarket. But hey, at least he's not too put off by the haunted house down the street, he could always find an unlikely best friend, or pet, and he's going skiing with everyone else soon. Or is he?
This is the third book in this series, and my first introduction to it. So I can only judge it on this evidence when I say it's not the best in the whole Wimpy Kid-mimicking industry. The story as such does actually hang together a lot more coherently than some other examples, with details and items passing in and out of focus to return with some good attempt at comic timing later on. But I wasn't very keen whatsoever on the way it was told to me. The artificial language, with the kids' own vocabulary (keel for cool etc) was not very amusing, and the with-it delivery, breaking the fourth wall and other conventions, was just too arch-seeming for me.
There's also a lot less to it than other books, even those much further along in their own series. With a sketch every page almost guaranteed, the writing is down to a paragraph or two, and this book can be powered through in well under an hour. To its creator's merit however is the fact that his illustrations contain a lot more variety than some franchises, and the variations in style enliven the pages just as much as the quick-fire, speedy and clear writing.
But even then the captions got in the way, and I found the whole exercise to be trying just too hard. In my out-of-date experience of being in the target age range for these books, making up your own in-crowd language, and having fads such as in these pages, last about as long as a school skiing trip would. There's a similar flighty feel too to the fact that several things aren't explained or resolved at the end. And although reader testimony and sales figures might prove me wrong, I don't see anything more than a very temporary, disposable, flash-in-the-pan character to this series, from this outing.
I must thank the publishers for our review copy.
We would much prefer kids with a reluctance to read explored the series including The Brilliant World of Tom Gates by Liz Pichon than this one. May Contain Nuts (The World of Norm) by Jonathan Meres is another great example, highlighting the British side of things.
You can read more book reviews or buy I Am So Over Being a Loser by Jim Smith at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy I Am So Over Being a Loser by Jim Smith at Amazon.com.
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