The Blog of Maisy Malone by Eve Ainsworth
|The Blog of Maisy Malone by Eve Ainsworth|
|Reviewer: Jill Murphy|
|Summary: Highly entertaining story written as a blog. It's very funny with some great comic scenes, but it's also serious, making points about family relationships, growing up, and even the state of the nation.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 200||Date: November 2012|
|Publisher: Amazon Media|
|External links: Author's website|
Maisy Malone - not her real name, she's not an idiot, you know - has decided to write a blog. She's 17, has just dropped out of sixth form because her lessons all seemed so irrelevant, and is now waiting for her benefits to arrive while she's looking for a job. And jobs are hard to find in the current economic climate. This makes life even more difficult for Maisy than it is for Maisy's friends. Because Maisy's father hasn't had a job in years and is steadily drinking himself into oblivion and her dog, Dave, desperately needs an expensive visit to the vet to sort out his leaky bottom.
And as if an impoverished home life wasn't bad enough, Maisy's mum flits around being embarrassing with her boyfriend, Sweaty Keith, and a trip to an employment agency lands her with a boss who times toilet breaks. And if all that weren't enough, errant brother Ollie arrives home bringing his usual supercilious air along with him. What secret is Ollie hiding? Will Mum and Sweaty Keith make it up the aisle? Will Maisy ever find a permanent job? And will Dave's leaky bottom ever get sorted out? The blog's followers are desperate to find out!
Oh, goodness me. My cheeks ache. Maisy's adventures and misadventures really made me laugh. Eve Ainsworth has a great feel for the absurd and some remarkable comic timing. From Dave, the dog with the leaky bottom who is loveable anyway, through the bosses from hell that temps up and down the land will recognise immediately, to the pub full of daft but real people, there is so much to laugh at here. But underneath it all, there's a tremendously engaging kitchen sink drama about a girl trying to grow up with little support behind her - whether it's her parents, the education system, or the economic background, everything presents barriers and problems to poor Maisy. There's also a story of family secrets - is Ollie really so bad? Why did he leave? And before that, why did Mum bugger off, too? And, as if all that weren't enough, there's a mystery character to identify. Maisy Malone has many strands but Eve Ainsworth has done a great job in drawing them together into a seamless - and very entertaining - whole. She has an admirably light touch.
Ainsworth has also been very clever with the comments on Maisy's blog. We realise quite quickly that 007 must be a character in Maisy's life and we enjoy wondering who he could be. But other people happen along as the blog progresses - not only Maisy's friends, but also general surfers. It's fun to see that some call in and go away, never to be heard from again, and some stick around. It's exactly how it works in the real blogosphere and it's one of the things that make it so engaging. I thought the sub-narrative and interplay that came with the comments really added a valuable extra ingredient to the book.
I really enjoyed Maisy Malone. It's funny, contemporary, relevant. It has a clever unwinding of plot. And a clever plot generally! As much as I enjoyed it, I think its target audience will enjoy it more. In fact, the only thing that lets the book down is some lazy editing. Unnecessary capital letters abound. Not all Nouns need a Capital Letter. There are lots of silly and common spelling mistakes - bolognaise for bolognese (it's Italian, not French), physic for psychic, principal for principle. I even found - horror of horrors - a greengrocers' apostrophe. And there are also some continuity errors - one moment Maisy's house has cable TV, the next it's Sky, for example. Generally speaking, the book could do with some tidying up as a product. But as a story, it's just great.
Recommended for all readers who enjoy funny scenes, realistic settings, and engaging characters. That's you, right? Right?!
If the chatty and idiomatic style of Maisy Malone appeals to you, I think you'd also love Saci Lloyd's fantastic look at global warning - and her heroine, Laura Brown - in The Carbon Diaries 2015.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Blog of Maisy Malone by Eve Ainsworth at Amazon.co.uk
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