Review Blog

Apr 23 2014

My life and other stuff I made up by Tristan Bancks

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My life and other stuff I made up by Tristan Bancks
Ill. by Gus Gordon. Random House Australia Children's Books, 2014. ISBN 9780857983190
My life and other stuff that went wrong by Tristan Bancks
Ill. by Gus Gordon. Random House Australia Children's Books, 2014. ISBN 9780857980373.
(Age: Primary) Recommended. Tom Weekly is of indeterminate age and lives in an iPadless world of adventure, weird adults and relatives, friends that at times seem barely worthy of the name and an unrequited passion for Stella Hollings. His sister is mean, his mother all unknowing and his gran can never resist a catfight. Tom creates his world with his own imagination and whatever tools happen to be handy such as a cardboard box or a texta.
Tom creates his own adventures and his own tall stories, and he can be an unreliable narrator, but the general havoc he can create, ably assisted by best mate Jack, brings out my inner ten year old. As well as sharing his stories, Tom has many other interesting asides which will hold the attention of his intended boy audience. For instance in the would you rather game... 'eat dog poo or cat vomit?'
The stories are generally funny and sometimes macabre in a Simpsons treehouse of horror way and Bancks often leaves it up to the readers imagination as to what happened next. Tristan Bancks has plenty of nice lines for the adult reader (and this book does beg to be read out loud). 'My nan is a frail biscuit of a woman' precedes a wonderful tale of Tom's nan going into training to climb Mt. Everest.
There is the surreal tale of the birthmark, very evocative of a South Park episode with the birthmark reaping its revenge on a kid who dares laugh at Tom. There is the curious tale of the dog kisser and I believe that poo, vomit and bed wetting may be mentioned.
I often recommend to my students that they read a book about the opposite sex in order to learn how the other half thinks. Reading this book reminds me that primary school boys may often be in a world all of their own making. I have no doubt that this comic creation will entice and encourage many boys to read and enjoy Tom Weekly's world.
Michael Jorgen

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