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Cookie ISBN: 9780385613972
Sharratt, Nick and Wilson, Jacqueline
Published by Doubleday, 2008
Beauty has a seriously unpleasant dad. While he doesn't physically abuse her (he does slap her mum once), he is such an angry, control freak, bully of a man that Beauty and her mum, Dilly, are afraid of him. He says terrible, unforgiveable things to them both and believes because he makes lots of money and provides them with all sorts of expensive things, he is allowed to treat them as chattels. Beauty and Dilly are very close and depend on one another. Beauty is not only bullied at home but at school too. An unpleasant gang of girls call her names, particularly 'Ugly', as her own name doesn't exactly reflect her appearance. Plump with glasses, Beauty has almost learned to accept the girls taunts. One of the gang is different - Rhona - who actually becomes friendly with Beauty and helps her self-esteem no end. After an over-the-top expensive birthday party, provided by the awful dad, and a small tragedy caused by him, Beauty and Dilly finally leave for good and flee to a small seaside community, where they learn to be themselves. While the happy ending may take a little suspension of disbelief, we cheer for Beauty and Dilly. As always with Wilson, the psychological undertones in this story ring absolutely true - Beauty's dependence on a children's TV show to provide a sort of fantasy support, her mum's complete dependence on her awful husband because she has known nothing else. We believe in these people and because of that, the book is a real page turner.
Age: 10+