Monday, August 18, 2008

Diary of a Chav - Grace Dent

Summary (from back cover):

Sixteen year old Shiraz Bailey Wood's days are filled with hoodies, hip-hop, and hanging around outside Claire's Accessories. Her parents work crap jobs and her school is pretty much chav central. There's not much goin' on in the world of this lovable dreamer, and having a brain and a heart of gold only makes it worse. Shiraz loathes being called a chav because she may be poor but she's not trashy, but she can't do much about it - yet. Shiraz is beginning to feel there's a lot more to life than minimum wage and the bling of a souped-up Vauxhall Nova.

Told in diary entries over the course of a year attending the unfortunately named "SuperChav Academy" (where she'll do anything to prove she's not a chav), Shiraz's insanely funny voice and spirited narrative show there is always a way to rise about any obstacle.


Where do I even begin? This book... I didn't like it at all.

First, as you can probably tell, the book is about a British teenager. And since I had an ARC, the book only had about five of the British words in the glossary, while the published copy will have a "full glossary of about 12-16 pages." Okay, that's good for a British ARC - but for an American? I didn't understand a lot of things because I didn't have a full glossary.

Second, this book did not get interesting until close to the end. The only reason I actually didn't just stop and not finish it was because I was bored on my vacation and had nothing else to do. It drags horribly all the way through the beginning and the middle.

Next, the description on the back of the book says that she tries to do everything she can to prove she's not a chav, but from what I read, she doesn't really do much. In school, she hides the fact that she is actually doing her work and trying to do good so her friends won't make fun of her for sucking up to the teacher. She wants to go to college, but the only person she tells is her grandmother. She dresses like all the chavs and acts like them too - so the back of the book was really misleading to me.

The back of the book also says that Shiraz had a "funny voice and spirited narrative." From reading that, I would think that I would actually find stuff that Shiraz's writes funny... but I didn't. There were only a few things that I found funny about it, and the rest of the time the book kind of just dragged on.

As you can probably tell, I didn't really like this book, and I wouldn't recommend it for you to get it when it is published in October. If you really want to read it, I would wait for a softcover or get it from your library.

Mis Citas Favoritas:

Can't quote. I had an ARC.



Steph said...

Brit slang can be rather confusing, but you should try using It clears things up a bit :)

You know, I'm fairly accostumed to the slang because I have a zillion Brit friends. So I obviously don't see that as a reason to discredit a book, but I understand where you're coming from - it's exasperating to read something rigged with expressions you don't understand AT ALL. It would help a lot if more Brit shows and more of the Brit culture were exposed to the US. Brits have no trouble picking out American terms and whatnot (admittedly, American slang is ridiculously easy, whereas Brit isn't) because the American culture is just in everybody's face there and in pretty much every civilized nation in the world, you know? It'd be awesome if that were a two-way street. :)


simply_megan said...

Hey I read this book! I actually kinda liked it, but I agree completely with you on British slang. Some stuff I could understand, but other phrases I was like "what the heck is she talking about??" And after reading your review, I realized that Shiraz really didn't do anything to convince people she wasn't a chav. All she wore were the hoodies and hoop earrings that everyone associated with chavs. But good review!

Trish Doller said...

I thought it was a pretty funny book, primarily because I like English slang, but also because she makes such effort to deny she's a chav. I can understand why American teens might not like it, especially when you've got Georgia Nicolson in the Angus, Thongs series who manages to be funny AND endearing.