The Girl with the Lost Smile Paperback – 12 Jul 2018
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Is Miranda Hart a National Treasure yet? If not, it can only be a year or two before she joins Stephen Fry and Alan Bennett in the trophy cabinet of the country's affections ... That personality and voice belong to a uniquely cherished comedian ... there's nobody like Miranda. - DAILY MAIL Hilariously funny and often moving ... we loved every word - HEAT on PEGGY AND ME
This is a story guaranteed to make you laugh and cry: the first children's book from award-winning, bestselling author and comedian Miranda Hart.See all Product description
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I can understand why she would want to foray into the world of children's literature, because she's young at heart and likes to see things from a child's point of view.
However, writing for children isn't easy and requires a certain technique, stance and nuances that appeal to children of all genders.
I think this book is aimed at a narrow audience, i.e. young girls who are engaging with their emotions or have emotional issues, e.g. "tweens" and teenagers rather than 10-11 year olds, like Chloe - the girl who has lost her smile.
Hart tackles poignant issues that young girls can face: growing up pangs, depression, neglect, familial instability. She also touches upon childhood innocence and how children find much joy in mundane things, e.g. a comfy duvet, a cheese and tomato sandwich, etc.
What I do find insightful in this book is how Hart has subtly personified philosophical and psychological constructs. For example:
- Are the characters Godfrey (not dissimilar to Roald Dahl's BFG) and Hoppy, King Sandy, Queen Sandra and Prince Barnie real or imaginary in Chloe's world? If they are not real, then how does that explain the existence of Trevor - her grandmother's love interest?
- Does Godfrey represent "God" or an absent father figure for Chloe?
- Does Hoppy represent Hope?
- Do the Shadow Bandits personify depression? (not unlike the Dementors in Harry Potter)
These pointers could be up for interpretation for parents and teachers.
In terms of writing quality, Hart has clearly poured her heart into this story and what it could do with is a bit more structure and read less like a stream-of-consciousness piece, unlike her other books.