Author: Siobhan Curham. (Pub’d Electric Monkey; 4th March 2013; Format – Print and Ebook)
Verdict: Funny, moving and at times rather poignant, this is a story for all of those who struggle to define themselves in the face of adversity. Oh, and if you want to be a writer there’s some great advice there for you too!
Review: I didn’t get the chance to read Siobhan Curham’s YA debut, ‘Dear Dylan’, but it seems those chaps at Electric Monkey have found an exciting new voice for the genre. ‘Finding Cherokee Brown’ could easily have become a story of continuous clichés. It could also have become overcrowded by it’s various themes; of loss, loneliness, first love, coming of age, bullying… Instead, however, Curham has written a tightly woven, entertaining and moving story.
Meet Claire Weeks. Severely bullied pupil of a wholly ineffectual school, whose best friend has gone and moved to Bognor Regis and whose parents seem not to understand her. Things certainly can’t get much worse, and as though the ‘Gods’ recognise this a series of life changing events occur beginning with the discovery of Agatha Dashwood’s manual, So You Want to Write a Novel.
To delve further into the plot would unnecessarily give too much away. Suffice to say, however, Curham has met the challenge she outlines in a letter to the reader – Cherokee Brown is an ‘interesting, inspirational heroine’, a victim of bullying ‘determined to fight back in her own original way…’ – she is funny, resilient, but by no means perfect. There is a lot for her to learn, and she is willing to do so. She is never presumptuous and is always willing to fight back.
‘Finding Cherokee Brown’ is not my usual choice of novel to be honest but this is a story so much more than the sum of its parts. A pleasure to read.