Diary of A Chav

Posted by Cobalt | Posted in , , | Posted on 8:26 AM

Rating: 2/5 stars

Shiraz Bailey Wood wants you to know that she's totally not a chav, alrigh'? Even though she goes to Mayflower, aka Superchav Academy, where their Christmas specials always tend to end up with the cops getting called, and yeah she wears hoodies but adults are just totally prejudicial and all, it's a fashion choice not a felony. Shiraz wants to set the story straight, see, and confides in her diary about the crazy antics of her friends and family in a working-class British suburban life -- trials that include dealing with an 'artistic' older sister who rails against commercial society, an obnoxious and smelly younger brother, a boy-crazy best friend and a morbidly obese dog with a passion for junk food. Not to mention her own mother, who's been getting into screaming matches with Cava-Sue about wasting her time at university when she should be getting a job and finding a nice rich bloke to settle down with...

Shiraz has her hands full, but she keeps a level head through these whole messed up mental situations -- until she meets Wesley Barrington Bains II and gets a bit unsettled (after all, guys aren't usually this fun to talk to and his eyes are so gorgeously green). Can she keep her cool and hold her family together? And how can she stop all these teachers from moaning at her about grades and applying herself and her career prospects?

A cute story, and Shiraz has character coming out of her ears, with a narrative voice that never falls flat. Her family is endearingly nuts, of course, and its clear that they love each other, shouting matches aside. I wanted to like this book more, because of a review that really praised the wacky hilarity -- it was amusing and light, but nothing laugh-out-loud for me. I almost found the mother depressing; her life is so shallow and narrow, and part of Shiraz's struggle is finding her own path instead of just going with the general flow. But this may have been personal -- I was having some flashbacks during Shiraz's factory work assignment that were highly unpleasant. I was invested enough in the story to care about what happened to Shiraz, but I'm not sure I'd pick up the sequel unless I had free time to kill. Still, it's a snappy story with a likeable narrator, finding and delighting in everyday absurdities and dancing on the edges of farce -- even if it doesn't exactly plumb the depths of meaning or character.

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