Monkey – Veronica Bennett

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Monkey – Veronica Bennett

Post by Graham on Tue Oct 30, 2018 5:32 pm

My mum used to say, ‘if you can’t say anything good about somebody, keep your trap shut,’ so this might be a very short review.
Why did I pick this one up in the charity shop? In a hurry probably and despairing at the reams of airport bookshop thrillers and romances. It looked different and the quote from the TES ‘impressively well written and audacious’ promised much. Inside was another story (ahem). With its large type, wide margins and simplistic language I assume Monkey’s target audience is teenagers with bad eyesight. If it is for young adults I would have appreciated a warning. It is not without interest but for honest insight into the secret lives of teenagers it trails miles behind Skippy Dies.

In its favour it is very easy to read, and I did want to know how it would end. Unfortunately, everything works out. Boy gets girl and disarms bully with friendly overtures. This is not how life works. It may be how Ms. Bennett would like it to and there is more than a whiff of the kind of moralising tale Victorians were so fond of. I imagine it is a book parents would be happy to buy their children, and which would either bore their offspring or stun them into disbelief.

Despite his physique Harry Pritchard is bullied. His mother arranges for him to visit an actor who has for thirty years been quadraplegic. Harry joins the school drama group to get close to princess Louise etc.

What is the obsession writers of school tales have with dunking heads in toilets? They didn’t do that at my school not because they weren’t cruel enough but because the victim’s face would have been stripped by flesh-eating microbes and his death would have deprived the bully of a source of entertainment. They contented themselves with breaking fingers, much easier, much more painful and there were usually another nine available for future use.

So, no, don’t bother with this one, unless you are a moralising Victorian mother with fond delusions about your little darlings.

Graham
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