HETTY FEATHER by JACQUELINE WILSON. Hetty Feather is just a tiny baby when her desperate mother leaves her at the Foundling Hospital. The hospital cares for many such children - but Hetty must first live with a foster family until she is big enough to go to school.
Hetty is poor but happy living in the countryside with her 'brother's', Jem and Gideon. She helps in the fields and plays vivid imaginary games. The children sneak off to visit the travelling circus and Hetty is mesmerized by the show, especially Madam Adeline and her performing horses.
But Hetty's happiness is threatened once more when she is returned to the Foundling Hospital. The new ultra-strict regime is a struggle foe her. But on the day of Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee, Hetty gets the chance to see Madam Adeline again - and maybe find her real mother.
...... From the inner front cover.
FIRST SENTENCE: My name is Hetty Feather.
MEMORABLE MOMENT: "You're a little whatsit," said poor Jem, giving my arm a shake. "Why won't you ever see reason, Hetty? "I try so hard to please you but it's never enough."
I know that strictly speaking Hetty Feather was written with a much younger target audience in mind BUT given that it was so highly rated by Niece #2 (11) and that so many books targeted at a younger age group can, and are, happily read by the more 'mature' reader I thought I'd give it a try anyway.
To be honest I'd heard such a lot about this author - mainly good from children and bad from their parents - that being objective was quite difficult try as I might.
So what were my first impressions? 'What a gaudy front cover' - primarily bright reds, blues and yellows with it's childlike illustrations, it was not exactly designed with any other than children in mind. However that said, and remembering its targeted age range, I thought it's large, clear print was ideal though at just under 400 pages it could be a little too long for the younger reader.
Totally disappointed from start to finish, I found the writing itself to be of a rather poor quality and as for the characters? Don't begin to get me started on what I thought of, main character, Hetty. Thoroughly awful, I found that, despite all the hardship and punishment meted out to her, I just couldn't like or, even, empathise with her. A truly spoilt individual, if she is an example of the kind of children Wilson portrays (and I'm led to believe it is) then I can well understand why many parents don't like her books.
Perhaps a bad choice of book as an introduction to the works of Jacqueline Wilson, I'm determined to read more if only to try and discover just what all the fuss is about and perhaps find out the 'truth' about her characters.
Hetty Feather was borrowed from a family member.