is four. She’s bright, she notices things, and she’s learning about the world. This is her story, told by her, but it’s also a story about her mum, who’s struggling to deal with chronic poverty, really inappropriate housing, and bringing up two small children on her own.
I really enjoyed this book. I loved Jesika, and her view of the world – the grown-ups who say one thing and mean another, the injustices you face when you are four, and the dangers.
There is danger out there. There are monsters disguised as humans. Bad things can happen. It’s really hard to know who to trust, but at the end of the day, Jesika is learning to trust herself and her own instincts.
I liked the fact that Jesika has the normal preoccupations of a four year old – who gets to do the puzzle? how much telly can I watch? – and the events in the adult world are filtered through her eyes. We know what’s going on, even when she doesn’t. It was one of those books where I really wanted to break in and shake a few people. There’s a lot of stuff in here that I know about – the effects of the bedroom tax, unscrupulous landlords – and to see the effects of these on an individual family was very powerful. Jesika’s level of understanding was maintained throughout – I managed to sink into it completely.
It reminded me a little bit of The Room, which has to be a good thing. That child’s view is powerful – children haven’t developed quite as many filters as adults. You can tell this writer understands small children well.
So yes, read it.