Book – The Life Shop
Author – Margaret McAllister
Year – 2004
Genre – Children’s
I grabbed this book as the third in a three for a pound deal at a charity shop (no expense spared in The Book Challenge) and my expectations were not high. I thought it was a bit of a trashy girly novel, which considering I had bought a couple of books on the Iraq war and British history, seemed a nice balance. Upon getting up on Sunday morning feeling not one hundred percent (I know you won’t believe me, but I actually wasn’t hung over) it seemed a nice one to whip through.
And then I was all the more disappointed the whole way through. For one, it isn’t a trashy girly novel like I thought, it is a trashy kids novel. Now, I have no problem with reading kids books, and I have proudly written up on many ‘children’s literature’ books in this challenge. However, this was just a rubbishy bit of fluff. The basic premise is that a catalogue is released which is massively addictive and everyone spends all of their time buying things from it and losing their identities. Except for one girl, who braves everything to sort out the company. Add to this a missing father and an disabled brother, plus the obligitory friends older brother/potential love interest and they had covered all bases. The whole thing gets more and more far fetched until a random supernatural element is introduced, and then not examined further than then acceptance that it is there.
Very little – such as the missing father or disabled brother – is done in enough depth to make it worthy. The whole thing reminded me of the Goosebumps books that were massively popular when I was about ten. Something happens which doesn’t make sense, it is revealed it was a ghost or something, but there is no further development that leaving you going ‘Wow. Ghosts are cool’ and then you are on to the next one.
I am being slightly harsh – this is a book aimed probably at thirteen or fourteen year olds, but unfortunately, I have managed to read about a dozen or so books that would be suitable for that age this year which are far more impressive.