Thursday, August 2, 2012

A Tribute to Jacqueline Wilson

They were only two of a multitude of books that my mother had bought for me, in an attempt to bring in a haul to satisfy my literary needs during the arduous (hahaha) time of my school's annual Readathon. The Story of Tracy Beaker and Double Act were their names and I was very pleased, thank you, to make their acquaintance. Little did I know that they were only two members of a family that I would strive to meet, to gather upon my bookcase and to reunite with again and again.

Upon quickly digesting Tracy Beaker's deliciously delightful diary, I was a goner. I had been sucked into this pommy child's intake of events and it was just fabulous. She used weird English words like snog and she loved being fantastically rude and outrageous, referring to people's behinds and naming her surrounding folk all sorts of names (like Elaine the Pain). She was confident and hilarious, two things I desperately strived to be. Her (Nick Sharratt's) drawings also were wonderfully whimsical - with their cartoon people all looking very silly and/or jolly. Tracy also wanted to be a writer as did I at the time so this obviously meant that we were meant to be BFFs.

While this was all very amusing, Wilson's depiction of life at Tracy's foster home (the Dump, she called it) also conveyed the universal understanding that shit happens. Life can suck. I commend her for this, as this gentle nudge was excellent for someone at my age. More children's material should be like this, not overly depressing, just acknowledging of this unavoidable factor. It can't always be fucking cray cray colours and ponies and magic all the time; why do we subject young ones to texts that proclaim such rot? My gurl Jackie Wils was keeping it real and I sure could appreciate this as a nine year old.


In fact, I loved Tracy and I loved Ruby and Garnet in Double Act and I loved the other characters that were to follow in my Wilson collection. They all were girls, they were around my age and they all faced varying problems, in school, friendships, families, boys... they were just amazingly relatable, even with their foreign slang and references to English culture. All of these girls had to somehow deal with issues like divorce, drugs, social isolation and by the end, there was always a resolution. Shit got solved. They also grew with me: Jacquline had more mature protagonists in different stories which were great - I found this with girls like thirteen year old Violet in Midnight. 

There was a point where I did further develop my literary tastes but the truth is, I still adore these books. Although they are all fiction, they still hold a strong sense of reality. Thank you Jackie, for making me snort, for willing me to become more daring (along with many other things), for making me value my family and friends; thank you for telling it like it is. You are one awesome lady and I salute you.


  1. Oh, I adored her books as a kid! Even managed to pick up a signed copy at a bookstore, though I sadly never met her.
    And you're absolutely right. She really knew how to keep it real, but still make a great story that would make you feel good:)

    1. I'm pretty sure all of the cool kids were reading some form of Jacky Wils back in the day