So a good meal and a good book both tend to carry messages. They can tell us about the chef, they can tell us about the cultures that spawn and inspire them, and they can tell us about the human condition. Pretty nifty, don’t you think? Today, we have a middle ages children’s meal that wants to tackle some of those big issues! Does it succeed?
We’ll find out, but first we have some important news from Starving Review, LLC:
- I attempt to rate every book from the perspective of a fan of the genre
- I attempt to make every review as spoiler-free as possible
It seems that I’ve been pulling a fair number of children’s meals out of the pantry lately so I need to remind folks of my number 1 rule. The reality of reviewing literary cuisine is that there are some subjective factors. You just can’t review a meal for young teens in the exact same light as one for adults and, likewise, one reviewer’s preferences and tastes differ from another’s. So with that out of the way …
Girl tackles an important social issue in the modern world, though it is one that has had repercussions for centuries, namely the relations between Christians and Muslims. In this task, it does a good job as it introduces positive examples among both sides of that equation, though it is admittedly a bit edged towards the European Christian point of view (even though the main protagonist is actually a white South African). Still, it approaches the problems and situations in a subtle, realistic fashion. It feels quite authentic.
The meal itself is cooked up in a satisfactory fashion with a clean style that should be easy to wolf down for the age group it’s intended for. It represents a good, fun meal for children while not being too directly preachy about its subject matter. What it isn’t is one of those children’s books that transcends the age divide. While perfectly edible by an older audience, it just doesn’t have the spice to catch and draw in like the best children’s literature can do.
I know that this is ending as a short review compared to my usual culinary reminisces, but Girl is a straight forward meal to approach. In summation, Girl of the Book is a solid, balanced children’s meal with an important message to deliver. I would definitely recommend it to children of the appropriate age group (early teens, possibly earlier based on reading level) for its message and solid writing, but there are superior reads for older teens and adults that explore the same messages of tolerance and cultural diversity.
FINAL VERDICT: **** (A solid, balanced children’s meal with an important message to deliver!)