Wednesday, 20 January 2010

The Breakfast Museum by Andrew Matthews

2003 & 2009 (new edition), Red Fox
122 pages, Paperback
Review Copy

Children's, 9+

Paperclips: 0.5
Smiles: 5
Tears: 1
Yunaleska's recommended rating: ♥♥♥♥

Tod stretched out his hands. 'Shall we go and celebrate?' 'Celebrate what?' I asked.'That we're three unique individuals in a world of clones.' Andie reckons the Breakfast Museum - a greasy spoon caf- - is the perfect place to hide out in when her boyfriend dumps her and she spur-of-the-moment bunks off for the day. Only losers and drop-outs go there, don't they? Wrong! For it's there that Andie meets Tod and Rally and discovers that the Breakfast Museum can provide much more than a plate of egg and chips and something that pretends to be coffee.

I do confess to originally think 'Ooh! Fragments! Pots!' when I saw the title. Upon reading the blurb I realised it wasn't about a museum with ancient artefacts. The Breakfast Museum is a cafe where items of the only dishes on the menu are displayed in the window. All products are under 24 hours old. And yes, they do look worse as the day goes on (congealed grease, anyone?) Yet this isn't what attracts the customers to the cafe.

Andie normally doesn't skip school. She feels heartbreak is a good reason to do so. (Can't say I agree with this, but it does lead her to learn a few things about life.) She bumps into a fellow student from school, who doesn't always turn up. Somehow she finds herself explaining what led her to the Breakfast Museum. There are many rumours about Tod. Andie discovers that not all the rumours can be true, and that Tod is good at magic tricks. Turning down his offer of being an assistant on his show doesn't mean she escapes being a part of his magic act. However, the magic isn't the only thing which Tod shows her. Tod offers friendship when she needs it. Through Tod she meets Rally, a boy with strange marks on his arms and neck. Andie learns fast that you don't ask questions at the Breakfast Museum - details are revealed only if the person wants to talk about the subject.

I like how the issue of self-harm is addressed. Such a sensitive subject can be hard to tackle without sounding preachy. The way Rally slowly opens up, and the reasons why he self-harms (which leads to drama near the end of the book) is all realistic. Andie learns more about the value of friendship, and how life can be tough for other people (tougher than being dumped). Plus, through it all she actually does find love again. The way that happens is really funny, and I had guessed the identity of the person she likes before it was fully revealed at the end. (No, I'm not telling who is involved).

Liked this? Try The Stone Menagerie by Anne Fine


Anonymous said...

great book.. :D

Nayuleska said...

It is!