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by Amanda Berriman

A novel told in the words of a four year old girl recording events in her life which are probably commonplace to many poor families in Britain today did not immediately appeal to me. However, the author manages to infuse the situations, some mundane but others horrific, with so much tension and apprehension that I was swept along on a wave of hope and dread. An very unusual and unputdownable debut novel.

Extract

Mummy says 'I really want someone to check him over today.' The man says I'm sorry, but there are no routine appointments left for today. Obviously, if you become worried or you son becomes distressed, you can phone up for an emergency appointment at any time.'
Mummy says, 'I am worried, right now! And he is distressed, right now!'
Toby claps his hands and reaches for Mummy's earring and he's still giggling and I say, 'What does distressed mean, Mummy?'
Mummy spins round and her eyes are scary-wide. 'Jesika, will you just go and play with the toys. NOW!
I step backwards away from Mummy's scary, shouty face and my back bumps against Toby's buggy and it falls over backwards and lands on the washing bags. Mummy shouts, 'Oh for God's SAKE!'

Parallels

Waiting for the Future: poems by children in poverty and bad housing by Shelter
I, Daniel Blake - the film
Room by Emma Donaghue
 

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