International Writers Magazine - Our Tenth Year: Young Fiction
ya Babe by Chris Higgins
ISBN 13: 9780340970751
Hodder childrens books (291 pages)
a male author Chris Higgins writes convincingly from a female perspective
and seems to effortlessly put his mind into a womans psyche
in the latest addition to his collection. Love ya Babe successfully
manages to take an in-depth look at the life of a young teenager
named Gabby, it follows the ups and downs ranging from her own love
concerns to those of her parents as well as looking at serious issues
including the current economic situation.
Life is never quite
what it seems and sometimes certain events can shake it to the ground,
Gabrielle discovers this when her previously stable life is knocked
off its own foundations. With a pregnant aging mother, a boy determined
to get between her and her best friend and attention from a male she
has no interest in shes pretty sure her life has hit rock bottom;
then the baby is born. Now Gabby has to deal with a whole lot more and
theres no Angie to help her along, return to normality seems unlikely
to ever happen but somehow other things are more important.
At the start of the text when we first meet our heroine she is a stereotypical
teenager, but by half way through she is learning what it is to grow
up and grow up fast. As well as her story the young reader is also invited
into the world of adulthood with all its twists and turns, looking at
issues that they themselves will not have to deal with for a considerable
amount of time; if ever. This is giving the teenage market the credit
for having a more mature mind than media often claims.
When Gabby first mentions her mother I would be shocked if most people
do not associate Posy with their own mum, for this reason we tend to
be over critical of the character, however in the end I found that I
sympathised with her and it was a stark reminder exactly what it takes
to run a household. I now remember the things that my mum said and realise
she was not exaggerating. In this way Love ya Babe is a bump back down
to reality in the form of fiction.
Felix is one of the most colourful characters in the book and I felt
my heart go out to him on more than one occasion, permanently under
threat of being sent away to boarding school and with constant pressure
to be a man somehow he has to retain his own identity and
comprehend what is going on around him. His relationship with his father
appears to be beyond repair and only Gabby seems to really understand
him, even if that is a recent development. The other problem in his
life is that not only does no one understand him they also dont
seem to want to listen to him; Felixs only escape then lies with
his love of art.
At first glance I have to admit that I never thought Id enjoy
this book, even the blurb did very little to sell it to, me but after
it had done dealing with the usual problems associated with teenage
life I found it an easy but pleasurable read. In a way it made me re-examine
my own early adulthood and filled me with a sense of near nostalgia,
if I had read it at the age of thirteen I think that it may have opened
my eyes to the bigger picture and pulled me back down from my heady
teenage emotions onto my feet. Over all its a good book, not great
but definitely good, that suites its age target and will hopefully give
everyone who picks it up something to think about.
Homfray March 2009
qtpiekitten at hotmail.co.uk
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