RC’16: A Book You Haven’t Read Since Primary School

Book: The Suitcase Kid
Author: Jacqueline Wilson
First published: 1992

I changed this challenge slightly – it was a book you haven’t read since high school, but since it’s only almost 4 years since I left high school, I thought I’d go for primary instead. Although I do want to read Holes again, because I haven’t read that since Year 8. Anyway, I read a lot of Jacqueline Wilson books when I was younger, and this wasn’t technically a book that I read for school, but I did read it during my primary school years.

Summary: When Andrea’s parents get divorced, she decides she wants to spend one week with her Mum and one week with her Dad – although all she really wants is to be back at home with both her parents and her Sylvanian rabbit, Radish.

“I couldn’t wait for [Dad] to get here – and yet when he tooted his car horn I suddenly clutched Mum and didn’t want to go after all. It’s always like that.”

My thoughts: This book is and has always been my favourite Jacqueline Wilson book simply because it resonates so much with me. My parents divorced when I was a baby, so while my experience was different to Andrea’s – she’s 10 during the story – the feeling of longing for a Home and the naive hope that you might be a family again strikes such a chord. In The Suitcase Kid Wilson manages to encapsulate so many of my feelings about my parents, their relationship, my life (like in the above quote).

I also loved Sylvanian Families as a kid (fun fact: I got my first ever cheque from selling a Sylvanian house when I’d outgrown it), so reading Andrea’s story was like reading a chapter of my own life. Reading it now is strange, because in the intervening years since I last read it, my dad and his wife have had twin daughters, so the last part of the story now seems to fit with my experience even more.

At 20, I find the alphabet chapters a bit gimmicky, but obviously I’m not the target audience for Wilson. The writing is simple, but she manages to talk about such a difficult subject in a way that kids can understand and learn from. Her gift as a children’s story-teller is so great, and so unique. One of my half-sisters has now started reading some of Wilson’s stories for younger kids, and it’s so incredible that she’s still entrancing readers over 20 years on.

I don’t really have too much else to say. This book made me totes emosh and at least for nostalgia’s sake, I have to give it top marks.

Rating system:
★☆☆☆☆ = I didn’t like it
★★☆☆☆ = It was okay
★★★☆☆ = I liked it
★★★★☆ = I really enjoyed it
★★★★★ = New favourite book

My rating: ★★★★★

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