23 Sep 2014

THE WORLD OF NORM #1: MAY CONTAIN NUTS.


THE WORLD OF NORM #1: MAY CONTAIN NUTS by JONATHAN MERES.

Source: An unsolicited Orchard Book received for review from Hachette Children's Books. The book is not available in paperback until October the 2nd.

THE BOOK {According to the back cover}: Norman knew it was going to be one of those days when he woke up and found himself about to pee in his dad'd wardrobe.

Why on earth did Norm's family have to move, anyway? In their old house he'd never tried to pee in anything other than a toilet. And when Norm is in bed, he's kept awake by his dad snoring like a constipated rhinoceros.

Will life ever get less unfair for Norm?

FIRST SENTENCE {Chapter 1}: Norm knew it was going to be one of those days when he woke up and found himself about to pee in his dad'd wardrobe.

MEMORABLE MOMENT {Page 63 }: 'We're going to call it Jesus if it's a boy,' said Dave.
'Or maybe Simon Cowell' said Brian. 'We've not decided yet.'

MY THOUGHTS: Largely accepted by most sites as being suitable for those aged nine and above I'd be surprised if the simplistic writing would hold the attention of any confident or strong reader of this age.

As an adult I was extremely concerned by much of the content. 

Written in the tradition of characters such as
Jeff Kinney's (Diary Of A Wimpy Kid) Greg Heffley (indeed I've heard Norm described as the UK version) and before him comic tv characters Dennis and Home Alone's Kevin McCallister. The essential difference being that though mischevious there is something essentially likeable if not lovable about these characters that is missing with Norm.

OK, so he's a totally self-absorbed twelve almost thirteen year old who feels like his parents and possibly the whole world are against him. Arguably  a typical tween-ager who doesn't understand his family's need to downsize and economise by buying shop's own brand coco pops - so far so good. I can understand that the author felt it appropriate to raise issues such as financial difficulties, problematic gambling and the dangers of the world wide web - after all today's children's books seem more gritty than those I remember as a girl. I can even understand how pre-adolescent boys would find it funny Norm being stopped just as he is about to 'pee in his dad's wardrobe'.

What I found extremely troubling was the lack of consequences. That Norm, and I'm trying desperately not to give too much away here, committed what was essentially a criminal act (with grandpa's knowledge) and, apart from a forced apology, was ultimately rewarded for his behaviour because his parents 'don't think they have been giving him enough attention lately'.




10 comments:

Brandi Kosiner said...

Ah, the writing level and the lack of consequences is a shame to hear

Kelly said...

Based on your review, I don't think this would appeal to my granddaughter at all - even though I think she did read a couple of the "Wimpy Kid" books awhile back.

Suko said...

The lack of consequences would bother me as well. Thanks for another terrific, honest review, Tracy!

Suko said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Literary Feline said...

I think the lack of consequences would bother me also. :-(

Brian Joseph said...

No doubt that the lack of consequences is a problem. The un likeableness of the character also seems problematic.

Melliane said...

It's intriguing but I can understand that the lack of consequences bothered you...

And just so you know I love the new look of the blog. it's fun!

Lady Lilith said...

I am so sorry you did not fully enjoy it.

Yvonne@fiction-books said...

Hi Tracy,

I had high hopes for this one, when I saw it featured on a few sites just lately, the cover art reminded me of a modern day 'Dennis the Menace'!

It sounds as though the author has completely missed the audience he was aiming at, unless of course he is setting out to encourage bad behaviour, with the lack of any serious consequences for Norm's actions. Norm sounds like a bit of a spoiled brat!

On the other hand, are there really any serious consequences for children or young adults these days? We seem to have become such a 'namby pamby' society, that youngsters rule the roost in most homes and schools, knowing that they can get away with bad behaviour and no-one can touch them!

I'm not surprised that you were a little disappointed with this book, better luck with the next.

Yvonne

Claudine G. said...

I did read The Wimpy Kid series and enjoyed them briefly but am not game for another of such story-styles. Also, the lack of consequence part ... mmmh, I think I'll pass.