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The International Writers Magazine: Young Fiction

Mimosa Fortune by Echo Freer
ISBN-10: 0340894768
ISBN-13: 978-0340894767
Publisher: Hodder Children's Books (18 Oct 2007)
Jack Clarkson review

There is a reason they didn’t let Lenny narrate "Of Mice and Men"! Echo Freer did not seem to realise this when she wrote Mimosa Fortune!
The story starts when Mimosa and Wanda, a pair of wandering, fugitive fortune tellers, arrive in Whitby, a coastal town with a history! Soon afterwards, trouble kicks off when Mimosa is visited by the ghost of the ‘gorgeous’ Quill Newton… you’d better REALLY Like the word gorgeous if you want to enjoy this book… Because it’s the only word she uses whenever he’s there! I mean it! The… Only…Word! Every creative writing help book has the phrase "Show don’t tell" in them. I became sick of Quill and even sicker of Mimosa’s insipid narration within five minutes, but I persevered with the book and finished it almost just to prove that I can!

But that’s like complaining about the awful tasting burgers at a kebab van and failing to mention the dysentery you also get as a result! As I mentioned earlier, you wouldn’t want Lenny as a narrator, Echo (and I will admit, that is a very cool name!) daringly disregards this rule by having Mimosa appear to be partially mentally challenged half the time, and clinically brain-dead the other half! The ‘Subtle’ twist ending was totally obvious from the beginning "You hint that you like someone, and you’re the only person that’s been friendly to me since I got here! That must mean you fancy that random girl who has had nothing to do with the story so far! Oh I’m dead clever!" Arrgh!

This book could have been so much more. Echo Freer tries to take the conventional chick-lit novel and remove all the mundanity from it by putting in stuff like fortune telling, ghosts and two-hundred year old curses. Unfortunately, she doesn’t go far enough in this process. Resulting in that unbelievably bad nonexistent love triangle in italics in all the school scenes.

Maybe the fact that I’m an adult and male puts me so far from the intended demographic of this book that I’m missing something here. But for such an imaginatively conceived plot, this book managed to take a bad turn as soon as the second chapter began. Maybe it’s because Mimosa and Wanda’s previous exploits seemed so much more interesting than the main plot that I felt short-changed. And the fact that everything Mimosa discovered, I’d already guessed about five pages back, managed to make me pray for the unbelievably predictable ending when I was about half way through…

It saddens me to see something that could have been such an amazing step forward, making chick lit entertaining, falling so flat on its face purely because of the literary error of making the protagonist so foolish.

Like I said, maybe I’m not the type that should like this. But I felt this book lowering my IQ as I read it! If I had finished it in one sitting I would probably have forgotten how to tie my shoelaces! Maybe that’s what you want in your chick lit! But don’t say I didn’t warn you when you find you can’t drive afterwards!
© Jack Clarkson December 2007

Jack is studying Creative Writing at the University of Portsmouth

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