Let me start by saying that this sucks.
‘What sucks?’ I hear you say.
No, actually that’s stupid. I don’t hear you say that. How could I?
For a start I don’t even know who you are, so what would you be doing here talking to me in my bedroom?
Andy Flegg does not want to write in a journal. but if he wants his parents to buy him an XBox, he has to write in it every day until his birthday, which is 124 days away. He has no idea what he is going to write about, but he desperately wants that XBox, so he’s going to do it. Luckily (in an unlucky kind of way), life is about to send lots of curve balls Andy’s way, so he’ll have plenty to write about – as the book’s title The Andy Flegg Survival Guide to Losing Your Dog, Your Dad and Your Dignity in 138 Days suggests. The journal might even help him get through it all.
While the use of a journal of diary written by a reluctant protagonist is not new, but it is a format which works, allowing the reader direct insight into the character’s thoughts and feelings. Of course it also allows for plenty of humour in the form of an unreliable narrator and plenty of misunderstandings. Readers will enjoy Andy’s voice, and also empathise with the pain of the quite traumatic events he experiences, a pleasing blend.
The Andy Flegg Survival Guide is suitable for middle and upper primary readers.
The Andy Flegg Survival Guide to Losing Your Dog, Your Dad and Your Dignity in 138 Days, by Mark Pardoe
Puffin Books, 2013
Available from good bookstores and online.