Thursday 28 March 2013

Finding Cherokee Brown by Siobhan Curham

13515415 (2)
I decided to write a novel. If I don’t write a novel I will kill somebody. And then I will go to jail and, knowing my lousy luck, ending up sharing a cell with a shaven-headed she-he called Jeff who smokes roll-ups and think it’s cool to keep a fifteen-year-old girl as a slave.
Pages – 334
Published by Egmont in March.
His lips touched mine and for one split second the whole world stopped.
Then every cell in my body fizzed into life . . .
When I decided to write a book about my life I thought I'd have to make loads of stuff up. I mean, who wants to read about someone like me?
But as soon as I started writing, the weirdest thing happened. I found out I wasn't who I thought I was. And I stopped being scared. Then everything went crazy!
Best of all, I discovered that when you finally decide to be brave it's like waving a wand over your life - the most magical things can happen .
Reading this book must be what it feels like to delve into the mind of a teenager. Not one of the popular girls, no, one of the invisible ones, that’s only paraded out when the butt of a joke is needed. That is the way you think  Claire must feel. She is very aware of her limp and you get the impression she is suffering from Ugly Duck syndrome in her head. She can’t see  how beautiful she really is. It doesn’t help that she doesn’t know her real identity and this book explores her parentage in order to discover the real Cherokee Brown, the name she was given at birth. As the book progresses you watch in awe as she unfolds into a beautiful swan, strong in her own beliefs and images of herself. She is no longer frightened to say what she feels. A scene within the school presentation was utterly awe inspiring and priceless. I wanted the Rocky theme tune playing in the background as she told everyone the truth. She was amazing.
This book has a strong theme of bullying running through it. You see how Claire tries to cope with the bullying at school, as well as a more subtle form of bullying at home where her mother and step father try to stop her having any contact with her real father – it spoils their perfect lives, but thankfully with the help of her newly discovered father and the rather awesome Harrison, she stands her ground and wins the battle. It was so good to see Claire build a strong bond with her father, whom she had only heard bad things about; he came through for her when she needed someone.
This book has aspects of Graffiti Moon hidden within the humour. Created by Harrison, who is just perfect within his imperfections. The growing friendship between Claire and Harrison was very beautiful.
I love the way the book is set up. The chapters are interspersed with character profiles as Claire attempts to write the story of her life. At the beginning of every chapter there is a short snippet of useful writing advice from the fictional Agatha Dashwood, which I found helpful and hilarious all at the same time; very tongue in cheek at times.
I haven’t read the author’s first book, but  I will definitely go out and get it, because this book really is such an entertaining read, that can make you laugh and cry at the same time. Just the right blend of humour and emotion to reel you in.


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