International Writers Magazine: Review:
Diary of a Chav: 'enjoyable and fast paced'
Of A Chav by Grace Dent
Published by Hodder Childrens Books
ISBN 13: 978 0 340 93219 3
initial view of this book, and its title in all its glittering majesty,
was that I would hate it. Diary of a Chav appears from
the outset to be a book thats trying to hard to be socially
relevant, and the first few chapters do little to change this opinion.
The story begins with the protagonist, Shiraz Bailey Wood,
complaining about where she lives and her family, and talking about
wanting to move to London. The setting is stereotypical, as you
would expect of a book with the title Diary of a Chav,
a working class family in Essex, a pregnant sister, a drug-dealing
neighbour, and a girl with a dream to leave. The
language is forced, with witty sentences and fantastic jokes being
ruined by phrases like innit, making the whole thing
pretty difficult to get into.
I struggled on, and I am so
pleased that I did. Once
you get past the somewhat stagnant plot at the beginning of the novel,
the book transforms into a wonderful story about working hard and achieving
your dreams. Shiraz quickly learns that in order to get on in life she
has to leave some of her more chavvy qualities behind her,
and learn to get on with people; however, it is her confidence and the
fact that she keeps it real that makes her a relatable and
likeable character, and ultimately lands her a job in journalism.
The book is enjoyable and fast paced, and once you get used to the style
you become absorbed in Shiraz world, and will her on to succeed.
As a reader you become involved in her highs and lows, and find yourself
cringing along with her throughout most of the narrative. You begin
to see things from her point of view, and realise that as a reader you
have come at the novel with the same preconceptions as the employers,
I feel that this is part of Dents reasoning behind the title.
She sets her novel up as a stereotype and then blows it apart by creating
a character that is relatable and intrinsically good.
The moral of this book rings true not only for its protagonist within
the story, but also for the reader: to never to judge a book by its
Wass March 2008
bex wass <firstname.lastname@example.org
Rebecca is studying Creative Writing at the University of Portsmouth
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