Saturday, 23 April 2011

The Real Rebecca by Ann Carey

February 2011, O'Brien Press 
256 pages, Paperback
Review copy 


Music lovers, highs & mediums of friendship, doing something different, parental embarrassment, writers, dealing with the world knowing stuff, rumours, lots of laughs

Summary from Frances Lincoln 

My name is Rebecca Rafferty, and my mother has ruined my life. Again.
I didn’t mind her writing boring books for grown-ups. But now she’s written one about an awful girl my age called Ruth and everyone thinks it’s about me! Including the boy who delivers our newspapers, aka Paperboy, aka the most gorgeous boy in the whole world. Oh, the shame. And if that wasn’t awful enough, now the biggest pain in my class wants to use my 'fame' to get herself on the reality show 'My Big Birthday Bash'. I’ve got to show everyone the real Rebecca. But how?

Rebecca and her friends form a band, and write a song that starts "my mother wrote a book...."! Will their first gig, in the Battle of the Bands, go well? And, more importantly, what will the paperboy think?

Nayuleska's thoughts
This is a lovely, light hearted book. It definitely has the feel that Rebecca's at the age where anything her mother does will be embarrassing. We all go through that stage. What's worse for Rebecca is that the entire world (mostly in the area around her home) presume that she is precisely like the character her mother created. There are similarities, but there are a lot of differences. Rebecca is far nicer than her counterpart. She has people at school who wish to abuse her second-hand fame, but in the end she doesn't let them get away with it. 

Starting a band is a great project for friends, it can really bring them closer together. How the band started for Rebecca was funny. I was impressed at how determined they were to make it work, even though not all of them had been musical. It was such a pleasure to read when Rebecca was enjoying it, she described the same emotions that I get for some of my hobbies. It didn't matter that it wasn't perfect. She had experience of people who aren't good at losing, people who are too focused on the end goal to enjoy the whole process of getting there. When she messed up she picked herself up and kept going. That's a prime example of true inner strength. 

I was laughing throughout most of the book. I like reading books like this because it's interesting to view them from an older perspective (I'm over a decade older than Rebecca), having had some of the same feelings myself (I remember how the world used to 'end' almost every day, anything going wrong was a catastrophe). The relationship with paperboy is mild - I'm hoping for a second book because Rebecca still hadn't found out an important detail about him by the end! 

Final conclusion 
A story that anyone who has dreams will enjoy, because the road to achieving dreams is long and hard, but it can be fun, especially with the support of loved ones. Also if you know a writer: beware - at some point they are bound to use at least one tiny aspect of your life for the stories. It is inevitable.

Suggested reading 
Another music themed, fun filled book: Seriously Sassy: Crazy Days by Maggi Gibson

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