Monday, 6 July 2009

Ugly Shy Girl: A Book Review

Ugly Shy Girl by Laura Dockrill is a real treat of a book. Its a story of a outsider, the kind of kid who tries to hide behind her fringe but screams her presence through her inability to read, let alone follow, the unspoken rules of school. A girl who can no more 'fit' then the baggy, torn, coat on her back. If you pick it up the bookshop you could easily think that it had been dumped on the closest shelf by a teen, with it's youthful format and gorgeous child-like scrawls and accompanying drawings, its screams 8-15. But make no mistake this is definitely a book for older folk. In fact, with it's vivid desciptions of bullying and it's..ahem..vibrant language, it really could be too much for the young reader. As Dockrill notes ''You might have once known somebody like ugly shy girl..... you might have even been like her yourself''. What reader cannot find them selves on either side of that fence. And if you too were Ugly Shy Girl, you will brave your discomfort and pain as you experience (re-live?) Ugly Shy Girls oppression at the hands of those that excel at the rules. But you will persevere and share the relief and joy with Abigail (a.k.a Ugly Shy Girl) as she finds her own strenght (despite the cruelty of the 'popular girls') her own resilience and ultimately her own confidence in her individuality. I love the playfulness of this book, the emotional honesty and the creativity, I love the fact that it shows the power of a strong female relationship. It is a rarity is girls fiction, it is female autonomy and female solidarity which rescue Abigail, never a boy. What an absolute delight.

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