By Lily Brown
I have loved Jacqueline Wilson’s books since I was a young child, first reading books like Cliffhanger and The Bed and Breakfast Star before moving on to Lola Rose and Clean Break. I would always be eagerly awaiting the publication of a new title and would look forward to the day my mum would present me with a new book. Jacqueline Wilson brought to my attention some issues which I had never come across before in an accessible way and helped me to understand some important issues other children might be facing.
I have kept coming back to Wilson’s titles throughout the years when working on children’s literature essays or just for fun so when I saw that she had revived one of my favourite characters I felt that I had to catch up with Tracy. I grew up reading the Tracy Beaker books and watching the adaptation on television so I thought that Wilson’s idea to write a book about Tracy as an adult was inspired. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Tracy and her daughter, Jess, and finding out about Tracy’s life after being fostered by Cam. A lot of the key characters from the original books make an appearance, including Justine Littlewood!
Although the book includes many funny and heart-warming moments there are moments which explore the struggle of having to adjust to a parent’s new partner, bullying and the pain of a relationship breakdown. Wilson also explores the nuances of family relationships as Tracy tries to maintain a relationship with her mother and with Cam.
I am sure both new and longstanding fans of Jacqueline Wilson will enjoy this book, whether it’s the first time you are meeting Tracy or whether you have been with her from the beginning. I think Wilson manages the balance between referencing the older books and introducing new characters and events perfectly. Tracy is a warm and feisty character and Wilson has ensured that these traits have followed her into motherhood as she is deeply protective of her daughter, prompting outbursts at school when Jess is being bullied. I think that Jess is a good counterpoint to Tracy as although they look very similar they are very different in personality. Jess’ calm, quiet demeanor is the perfect contrast to Tracy’s enthusiasm and there are some instances where we see Jess emulating her mother which has great impact in the novel.
The majority of the book focuses on Tracy’s relationship with Sean Gregory, an ex-footballer, and their new life living in his mansion, complete with swimming pool. However, when their relationship ends Tracy is forced to be resourceful in order to provide for her and Jess. The ending of the book is marvelous and includes another well-known character for old fans to enjoy. I thought the ending of the book was perhaps a little rushed but overall My Mum, Tracy Beaker was a lovely trip down memory lane with some great new characters including Jess’ beloved dog, Alfie!
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