July 2009, Corgi Books (Random House Children's Imprint)
Tissues: 3/5Yunaleska's recommended rating: ♥♥♥♥♥
Mmmm cookies!! (and rabbits). Always a good combination. Pink cover - appealing for girls, who this story is aimed at. And very sweet illustrations at the beginning of each chapter, giving a picture summary of what is to come.
Beauty puts up with bullying at school because, according to the other girls, she isn't beautiful. They know so little about her. They wouldn't see her innocence in enjoying a children's programme aimed at a younger age. They don't see how much she cares for animals, and how that caring keeps her going when life at home gets more than a little tough.
For Beauty hides a secret. Her father gets ill-tempered, every now and then. Only with a horrifying frequency. After an incident evolving around her birthday, Beauty's mother has enough, and decides to leave her husband, taking Beauty with her. It's a brand new start for the two of them, with little money, and no relatives who will happily take them in. Best of all - Beauty makes another best friend.
This is a well written, touching story of family breakdowns. I believe Beauty has such attachment to the children's programme a) because she loves animals and b) because when life gets rough, its comforting to turn to something cute, fun and entertaining.
Yes, at first I thought it a little odd that Beauty pretends the people on the tv show come to life and give her advice, but its just a coping mechanism that she uses to see herself through the hard time with her father.
Her mother's determination to see the threat through, to never go back to the wealth she's left behind speaks of great courage, which I've seen happen in real life. Beauty's father, well he's a nasty piece of work. The showdown is spectacular, and I love Beauty and her mother's support. It has a very happy ending, which had me in tears. This is a tough, real life issue dealt with a strong injection of humour and hope.
Jacqueline Wilson's (very pink) website can be found here.
Liked this? Try Angel Cake by Anne Cassidy