Review Blog

Jan 16 2009

Cookie by Jacqueline Wilson

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Random House, 2008. ISBN 9780385613972
(Age 10+) When Beauty's father becomes even more abusive and critical of the girl and her mother, Dilly, the pair decides to leave their 'happy home'. Dilly and Beauty have put up with derision and nastiness all their lives with Mr Cookson, the owner of a development company. He treats them as if they were his servants, expecting Beauty to live up to the name he gave her, expecting Dilly to be the subservient wife and mother he needs to advertise his houses. All should be happy, to parallel his ads, but it is not. Beauty would dearly love a pet, and when a friend gives her a rabbit for her birthday, her father leaves the hutch open and the bunny is killed.
Mr Cookson is unrelenting in his victimisation and bullying of his small family, and this all comes to a head at Beauty's birthday party, where her class mates, invited by her father, see his behavior first hand. The girls from the private school her father insisted she attend, reflect Beauty's father's bullying, and it is a relief to her when she and her mother leave.
I found the constant bullying overwhelming, and it was a relief to me when the pair reached the sea, and fell under the wing of a kindly older man for whom Dilly began to work. The story resolves itself happily and will be most pleasing to the readers to see the girl and her mother finally develop some independence. Beauty and her mother are almost indivisible in their lives with Mr Cookson, and while younger readers will sympathise with Beauty, older readers will feel for Dilly, a young woman who relied on her attractiveness to marry almost as soon as she left school, rather than develop her talents.
Fran Knight

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