The Dinner Club and Other Stories by Rob Keeley
|The Dinner Club and Other Stories by Rob Keeley|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Jill Murphy|
|Summary: Fun series of short stories for middle grade readers. In a departure from previous collections, Keeley has opted for realistic scenarios but they are just as enjoyable.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 144||Date: September 2013|
|External links: Author's website|
Being on home dinners gives Aidan the chance to make some money...
A bridesmaid and a page chase a runaway wedding cake...
Mia and her Dad turn detective...
These are just a few of the premises you can try out for size in Rob Keeley's third book of short stories for middle grade readers. He's really having some fun with this format. I approve. We need more short story collections for this age group. They're entertaining and they appeal particularly to reluctant readers. Short stories like this can act as a springboard to full-length novels. And even if they don't, they give an understanding of structured writing.
Ok. I'll just pick out some highlights. I really enjoyed Whose Side Are You On?, which tells the story of the same feud between the same two girls twice - from each girl's perspective. It shines a light on just how pointless and petty most feuds really are when you get down to it. And it also shows just how wrong you can be when you make assumptions about other people's motives for doing or saying just about anything.
Then there's The Craze, which satirises fads and crazy fashions and has some subtle hints about being yourself and appreciating your own individuality. But there's a sting in the tale of this clever little story. The cleverest and most aware people aren't always the most successful. Life isn't fair!
And I loved Seven Stories in Seven Words, which does just what it says on the tin. That single page contains seven pieces of flash fiction, each containing just seven words. My favourite? Hmm. I think I'll go for, Don't leave chocolate in pockets in summer.
All of the stories are very different but they're all connected by some great observation - you'll recognise too many family and school situations for comfort! - and by the same droll humour. In The Class of 84, Peter says to his father, Did Technology this afternoon. We're making a bowling alley out of shoeboxes. Ha. Good luck with that!
It was nice to see Keeley try something a little bit different here. Instead of fantastical tales of the unexpected we've seen from him before, he's tapped into slices of real life in The Dinner Club and Other Stories. These realistic tales are just as much fun as the surreal ones and they reveal that everyday stuff contains just as rich a vein of humour as wild imagination. But it's not all newness. Familiar characters return to entertain readers, including my personal favourite duo, Liam and Justin. Those two never fail to make me laugh. They're like a junior version of Morecambe and Wise.
Give The Dinner Club and Other Stories a try. You'll enjoy it. I promise.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Dinner Club and Other Stories by Rob Keeley at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Dinner Club and Other Stories by Rob Keeley at Amazon.com.
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