29 June 2009

Pip: The Story of Olive

by Kim Kane

Allen and Unwin. Australian, Junior. Paperback rrp $15.95

Guest Reviewer Jo Burnell

Olive’s life is a bit different to that of most kids. Her mum is the first female Queen’s Counsel (Barrister) in Melbourne. This means long working hours and family activities spent socialising with influential people in the legal world. Pip is left to her own devices after school. Her mum thinks she spends time with her best friend, but then things unravel. It all starts with Christmas Concert tickets, getting caught on the wrong internet site and rejection. Olive doesn’t manage to tell her mum even though she tries. Instead she spends more time alone. The happy life she has known seems to have evaporated.

Just as it all seems too much to bear, along comes Pip. She’s the opposite of Olive in many ways. Olive follows the rules, prefers to blend into the background and hates mess. Pip is a walking disaster area, leaving a trail of destruction wherever she goes. She regards rules as irrelevant lines to be trampled and loves to stand out in a crowd.

I found the early detail of difficulties at school hard-going, but that’s the way it can be when friendships are torn. Messy and painful. Once Pip enters the story though, events speed up and a lively detective hunt ensues.

The complexities of changing friendship groups in secondary school are laid bare in Pip: The Story of Olive. Things do resolve, but not always in expected ways.

In the meantime, Pip urges Olive to find her father. Olive knows nothing about him, but clues do exist. She’s just never really looked before.

Pip: The Story of Olive is unusual. Some of the action happens within characters and there are no neat happy endings. Still I came away satisfied. Life isn’t always neat and there are often times where the ending isn’t completely happy.

Pip: The Story of Olive has been short listed for the Speech Pathology Australia’s Book of the Year Award (Upper Primary).

No comments:

Post a Comment