Review Blog

Nov 19 2010

Mimi and the Blue Slave by Catherine Bateson

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Woolshed Press, 2010. ISBN: 978 1 86471 994 9
(Ages 9+) Recommended. Mimi is part of a fairly normal, happy family until her father's death suddenly tears them apart. The story opens two days before the funeral, when Mimi has been struck down with the flu. Her mother has the support of her sisters, Ann who is somewhat proper and judgmental and Marita who is rather more alternative. Mimi must instead rely on her imaginary pirate friend, Ableth, for guidance and help. Following the funeral Mimi and her mum leave on a holiday which is meant to help them both but fails to achieve its purpose. On their return home, grief affects her mother badly and Mimi buries her own grief to try and keep the household and the antique business running. New friendships are forged with Fergus, the boy from the organic fruit and vegetable shop and various people her parents have long known from the antique trade and gradually life begins to improve again.
This is a brilliant story of change, grief, friendship, loyalty throughout the process of dealing with the death of someone close. It is imbued with warmth and humour as the personalities of the two aunts balance the serious side of the book. Bateson manages to focus on the tough issues in such a way as to make them accessible to younger readers, providing a sense of hope to any who may have had the misfortune to have experienced such things in their own lives.
Jo Schenkel

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