Piggy Monk Square, by Grace Jolliffe

Told in the first person, this is the story of Rebecca, a nine year old girl living in Liverpool in the '70s. Her parents are on the verge of splitting up, her head-teacher has it in for her, and the underground den she's made with her friend Debbie has been discovered by a policeman who then falls into it and is seriously injured. Given what she's heard and seen of the way the police behave, it's not clear how she and Debbie should deal with the copper who now needs their help.

If this were the first book I'd read by an unreliable narrator then I think I'd have been more interested, because that's the main thing this has going for it, and I think it didn't do it that well. Rebecca seems pretty remarkably unperceptive of the stuff going on in her life, leaving us to infer from her reports what the real stories are. But I found the style of her writing/speech a bit too mature for a nine year-old, while in contrast it was a bit hard to believe she'd be quite that na´ve.

Rebecca's mind flits from one subject to the next: I think this was a fair representation of how children sometimes seem to lack concentration, but again it was a bit hard to swallow that she'd switch so easily from thinking about a tramp being kicked to death by policemen outside her bedroom window to what kind of colouring she was going to be doing at school.

The main problem was I never really cared much about Rebecca: bad things happened to her, but I found the format more irritating than compelling, so it was a bit of a struggle getting through it.

Completed : 06-May-2008 (audiobook)

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