Shiraz: The Fame Diaries (Diary of a Chav) by Grace Dent
|Shiraz: The Fame Diaries (Diary of a Chav) by Grace Dent|
|Reviewer: Zoe Morris|
|Summary: She gets knocked down, but she gets up again, straightens her hoops, reapplies the lip gloss and goes on to the next adventure. And this time, our Shiraz is on the track to fame, fortune and fabulous photo ops.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 224||Date: October 2008|
|Publisher: Hodder Children's Books|
Shiraz Bailey Wood is back for another adventure, and this time it's with some serious bling. Sick of wiping bums and cleaning up after her babysitees, she has a change of career in mind. She's gonna be well famous, like that minted WAG Tiffany Poole innit? That is if she can control her big-boned pooch, convince bff Carry her face is not at all lopsided and deal with a friend in labour first.
I am now intimately familiar with Shiraz. I know her hopes, her dreams, the ins and outs of the soap opera that is her life. But, having read a couple of the previous books in this series, I was pleasantly surprised, because this one is verging on great. It's hard to pin down why I liked this one so much more, but it's certainly something to do with the tongue in cheek look at the Famous For 15 Mins culture. In the reality-TV-obsessed world in which we live, I think this book's going to be a huge hit. Tiffany Poole's character is a wonderful parody of a Jordan-meets-Kerry Katona character, and the ludicrous shows that the girls dream of starring in are worryingly possible given the current load of rubbish, sorry, quality TV out there.
This book really captured my imagination and my attention. It's lots of short stories (the various bids for fame) knitted into one, which meant you never know if or how the girls are going to succeed in their quest. It was a really fun story to read, and unlike some of the other books in the series it really does focus on Shiraz and Carrie, so you don't get too distracted by the millions of supporting characters who pop in to say hello.
Shiraz certainly seems to be growing up in this book, too. She's 19 now, and her true self is beginning to shine through – the ending made me smile a lot, because it's then that she finally decides what she wants to do, for real this time. Somehow as she develops into a smart, sassy character, her chavness seems to fade away, though you just need a short sentence containing the words gold hoops, proper stuck in or OH MY DAYZ for it to come shrieking back. This book, perhaps more than the others, seems to have come with subtle crumbs of advice and comment. We learn how dropping out of school is bad, and how having kids young (and with no babydaddy around) can be hard work. We learn that what really matters are friends and family. That might sound all condescending and cheesy, but in the book it's not – it's ideas rather than explicit statements, so you don't ever feel lectured by the author, and she never slips out of character.
I'm still not entirely sure who these books are aimed at, but I'm coming round to the idea that they can be read on two levels – by those who speak and act like Shiraz and co, and by those who never would but who get a tickle from reading about them in an ironic sort of way. What's clear though is that these books are popular – the comments from 14, 15, 16 year olds on Amazon make this blindingly obvious. There are girls out there reading these books and loving them, and even if the idea makes you as a parent shudder, reading anything has to be better than not reading nuthin' like, innit?
Thank you to the publishers for supplying this book.
If this book appeals then we think you might also enjoy Susanna Covers the Catwalk by Mary Hogan.
You can read more book reviews or buy Shiraz: The Fame Diaries (Diary of a Chav) by Grace Dent at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Shiraz: The Fame Diaries (Diary of a Chav) by Grace Dent at Amazon.com.
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