READ 22 – 23 January 2012
Rating 4 / 5 if young adult 3 / 5 if adult
Reviewed for and on behalf of the Kindle Book Review.
What if the hokey pokey… is a good book following Nora (or Piccolo) and her Mum as they travel across America after the seeming break down of her parents’ marriage. The book is written in diary format (think Adrian Mole) and from the point of view of 14 year old Nora.
Reading a book in diary format is always different to reading a novel. The scenes are often short and punctuated and you get a real insight and look at the characters, more so than you usually do when reading a standard novel. What I usually enjoy about diary formats is that you can see the passing of time. But, for some reason Burke didn’t include diary dates. It made it really hard to judge just how long they had been away for. Had dates been included I feel it would have aided the reader somewhat in the sequencing of events and the passing of time.
That said this book carefully deals with issues facing young people today; weight, popularity at school, fitting in etc. Nora is a credible character and the writing is funny and will appeal to both young adults and adults alike. As they travel across America they meet many weird and wonderful people, including Uncle Spike, Prudence and Salsa. The scenes with Salsa in particular made me laugh.
If you’re looking for a nice easy read the this will suit you; it’s fun and well-paced, although I must admit I got confused sometimes on how they’d ended up in certain places.
There are lots of cultural references in this book, for example Nora is a big fan of ‘The View’ and there are references to chocolate bars and some used of slang. I’m not sure some of these references travel well; what I mean by this is that I read a lot of varied and wide ranging books from a number of different authors across the world and there were some references that completely bypassed me; a young America audience would probably understand these better, more than say a UK reader.
That said this is a fun enjoyable read whether a young adult or not.