SWALLOWING GRANDMA by KATE LONG.
Katherine Millar is eighteen and desperate to be less fat, less swotty and to have cooler friends. But most of all she wishes she had two parents, instead of one grandma, Poll.
Poll is pushing seventy, half blind and utterly poisonous. She has looked after Katherine since she was a baby, when her father was killed in a car crash and her mother vanished. Poll's ambition is for things to stay exactly the same for ever, and for Katherine never to leave their pit village of Bank Top.
Katherine has other ideas, and she can feel change is coming; the omens are all around her. In the meantime, she cleans up after Poll, revises for her exams, watches daytime television and surfs the net at the library trying to find out how to be bulimic. What she doesn't quite realize yet is that life won't always wait for you to catch up with it.
...... Outer back cover.
FIRST SENTENCE (Chapter 1): Dogman turned up on our doorstep at nine o'clock sharp, wolfhound in tow.
MEMORABLE MOMENT (Page 98): "Can't you see I'm partially blind?"
"Yes, madam, but you still can't bring back soap if you've used it."
MY THOUGHTS: What a fun cover, it has to be one of my all time favourites,
To be fair, like many things in life, humour is very much a personal thing and what makes one person laugh out loud will leave another wondering what the joke is.
Sad to say that I found myself firmly in the latter category in that I just didn't get much of the humour of the novel.
A story not just of (largely dysfunctional) relationships, Swallowing Grandma also deals with issues such as disability, teenage pregnancy, child abandonment, body image, bullying and bulimia. Hardly laugh out loud material to begin with, I understand that humour may well have been needed in order to cut through the seriousness, the, dare I say it, potentially depressing nature of much of the plot, but at times I just wasn't convinced by the author making light of the character's plights.
As for characters, wonderfully cantankerous, grandma, Poll, could have been such a funny (and totally believable) character if only she had been toned down a little bit but as it was she came across as a bit of a caricature of, well, a cantankerous elderly woman whilst granddaughter, Katherine (Kat), though I did relate to her in some way, I found to be quite depressing in her general helplessness
Alas not to my taste, it's a shame that the book didn't live up to all that the cover conjured up.
KEEP IT OR NOT?: A church fayre buy, this is not a keeper.