Slinging the Bling (Diary of a Chav) by Grace Dent

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Slinging the Bling (Diary of a Chav) by Grace Dent

Category: Teens
Rating: 2.5/5
Reviewer: Zoe Morris
Reviewed by Zoe Morris
Summary: The diary of 16 year old Shiraz, this is a dubiously worded book with a surprisingly ok story underneath.
Buy? No Borrow? Maybe
Pages: 240 Date: August 2007
Publisher: Hodder Children's Books
ISBN: 978-0340932186

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We meet 16 year old Shiraz as she is, to her mother's delight, working in a greasy spoon caff. Not that Burger King or the local sandwich shop wouldn't have done too, mind. Her mum doesn't really mind where she works as long as our Shiraz is out there earning a decent wage and contributing to the household bills. Problem is, when Shiraz took this job she hadn't planned on leaving any time soon to go to college, but when GCSE results come out and she does better than she expected, things change and Shiraz catches a glimpse of a different future that's out there, if she wants it.

Returning to the school she has just left, Shiraz's first year of 6th form suddenly becomes awash with new friends, new responsibilities and new opportunities. A little overwhelmed by all of this, Shiraz has to decide for herself what it is she wants, and reconcile this with what her well intentioned family, boyfriend and teachers are each hoping for.

I have no complaints about the diary-style story - it has a usual teen-girl angst base, some embarrassing family moments, a bit of boy trouble, the usual school hassles. Though the general approach has been done a million times, this story still felt fresh and unpredictable, and some of the will-they-won't-they themes were quite engaging. What I did dislike, however, was the text-speak, street-wise style of writing. Yes, it's different, yes, it's how lots of potential readers might speak, and yes, it's quite entertaining in a Vicky Pollard sort of way to begin with. But by chapter two my head was groaning and a few pages after that I just started cringing. It was just too much, too out there, and too hard to read. Here's a typical excerpt:

Clinton was up at the school again today. Hanging about looking well wide. I got Wesley to be a double agent tonight and ask our Murphy about whether he is buying any weed off Clinton 'cos if he is I'm going to be seriously narked 'cos I don't want him turning like all those lads did when I was in Year Ten who got into smoking skunk and before you know it they're just sitting in the park smoking all the time and that's all they do, smoke smoke smoke and they end up like Cotch and Eric who Carrie one made us double-date and who act like they got some sort of brain damage.

I found this book pretty hard work, and not because I'm some oldie too out of touch with today's youth (this book was published on my 25th birthday). 'Cos like, yeah, I mean, oh my god, I can, like, totally talk well good rubbish with the rest of 'em, right? It's just this reading thing, yeah? Well that's, like, different from, y'know, talking and stuff. And I like my writing proper innit? I would not have liked this book at age 15 any more than I liked it now, but I have a horrible suspicion that there is some sort of dubious market out there for this book, and that there probably are more than a few teenagers out there gleefully cackling over this series. I think the problem I would have in recommending this book is that even though it might appeal to normally more-reluctant readers, there's nowhere really to go from here, and the jump to "normal" mainstream teen books might prove a bit too much. That said, I'm not going to give it 0 stars because it is just about bearable, the story is not bad, and, as I said, there are probably some people out there who could love it to bits.

This is book two in a (so far) three book set. It's not a series where you need to start at the beginning - indeed, I didn't realise this wasn't the first book until I got to the end, and I still can't imagine what the first one would have covered since this one does seem a story in itself.

Read this if you must, but I would feel much more comfortable recommending some other teen diaries such as My So-called Life or Planet Janet.

Thank you to publishers for supplying this book.

Buy Slinging the Bling (Diary of a Chav) by Grace Dent at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Slinging the Bling (Diary of a Chav) by Grace Dent at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Slinging the Bling (Diary of a Chav) by Grace Dent at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Slinging the Bling (Diary of a Chav) by Grace Dent at Amazon.com.


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Rebecca Wilson said:

I thought this book was hilarious because i was just amazed by it, it just was great. sound love from yours sincerly katherine wilson age 13 almost 14 on november 4 wwwwhhhhhooooo BYE