Diva Without A Cause: Book Review
When you go to see a really funny movie in a theatre, chances are you’ll find yourself laughing out loud. Believe it or not, there are books out there that will get the same reaction out of you when you read them. Diva Without A Cause, a novel by Grace Dent, is one of those laugh-out-loud hilarious reads.
The main character in this book is Shiraz Bailey Wood – and boy is she ever a CHARACTER. Shiraz lives in a small British town where everyone thinks she’s a “chav … ”
[Before we go on with more about the story, it’s important to explain that this novel was originally written and published in England, where people use certain words, phrases and slang that North Americans may not understand. For that reason, the author, Grace Dent, has generously provided a glossary at the back of the North American version of the book, so whenever there’s a word or phrase you’ve never seen before in your life, you can flip back and look up its meaning.]
OK, where were we? Oh, right. People in Shiraz’ hometown consider her a chav, which is a poor, working-class person. It’s kind of like calling someone “trailer trash.” So you can probably imagine how upset this makes our heroine. The whole thing starts at Christmastime – the only gifts Shiraz receives are knock-off trainers and a diary from her grandma. What lame gifts, like she’d even bother to write in the diary! But as the story unfolds, Shiraz actually starts writing EVERYTHING in the diary that happens to her over the course of the next year.
This is a book format you’ve probably seen before – it’s a pretty popular way to write a novel these days. The first titles that come to mind are The Princess Diaries, Bridget Jones’s Diary, Youth in Revolt and The Secret Diaries of Adrian Mole. What makes Shiraz’ diary stand out from the rest is the cool way that the author tells the story.
As you read Shiraz’ diary entries, you find out that she’s got problems at work, school and home. When she’s forced to work at the local packing plant, Shiraz starts wondering if there’s more to life than working at a boring job. At home, her mom and older sister are constantly fighting. When she finally can’t stand it anymore, Shiraz decides to write to talk show host Jerry Springer for help. Unfortunately, airing all their dirty laundry out at work doesn’t exactly work out like Shiraz hopes it would. And at school, Shiraz’ BFF Carrie starts ditching her to spend time with her new boyfriend, Bezzie. Shiraz isn’t too crazy about Bezzie, but Carrie is head-over-heels in love and the two girls’ friendship starts going downhill – fast.
Because it’s written in the form a teen girl’s diary, you shouldn’t expect this book to flow totally smoothly. But if you like reading brutally honest stories that look into the lives of real kids just like you, this is the perfect read for you.
If you read Diva Without A Cause and find you just haven’t had enough of Miss Shiraz, pick up the sequel, Posh And Prejudice, which is set to come out early this summer (June 2009).