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Socks Are Not Enough Paperback – 6 Oct 2011
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Mike Swarbrick's life couldn't get any worse. His pervy best friend gets him embroiled in a scandal involving the girls' changing rooms, his idiot of an older brother is snogging the girl of his dreams and he's just come home early from school to discover his parents are secret nudists...but they're ready to go public! A chain of events beyond his control are set to RUIN HIS LIFE. But instead, his teachers think that he's having trouble dealing with his feelings. The result is that Mike's forced to meet with the school councillor who thinks that a cool university professor can fix his problems. And so begins Mike's Chats with Chas which really are as humiliating and cringe-worthy as they sound...
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The book is funny (I laughed out loud more or less throughout) and is really about feelings and how to deal with them - a very useful topic for the young... The main character has to deal with a Mum who is exploring naturism, a Dad who is going along with it, a brother who is frankly a pain in the neck. His world is pretty unfair and he feels embarrassed a fair bit. He has feelings for a girl - which are confusing. To top this off he now has to deal with a school nurse who wants him to talk about it and a psychologist... cue much humour. The resolution of the story is a little bit pat - but it's for kids so I think that is fine. Everything gets worked out nicely and the main character gets to confront his issues and we leave him knowing his life has improved.
I'd recommend this book. It was good fun, a little bit challenging and really a good stab at letting kids know that everyone has difficult feelings to confront and that they can be dealt with.
Mike Swarbrick the main character suffers with asthma especially when stressed. His best friend embroils him in a scandal involving the girls changing room, his older brother is snogging the girl of his dreams and he's just come home from school to discover his parents are nudists and have been for the last eight years ... and now, they are ready to go public.
How much worse can it get?
Much worse as it happens, his teachers think he's having trouble dealing with his feelings and sends him to the school councilor, and so it begins.
The story unfolds with the use of lists and transcripts as you are introduced to Mike Swarbricks' chaotic life, and lead from one hilarious escapade to another with hardly a moments breather before you again find yourself laughing almost uncontrollably.
The novel also has its uses as it explores deep seated emotions and offers some advice on how to deal with such feelings.
I chose this book for my 10 year old son, but as of writing this review 'Socks are Not Enough' by Mark Lowery has also been read by myself, my husband, our 14 year old son and our 15 year old foster son.
14 year old Michael's life is turned upside down the day he comes home early and discovers that his parents are secret nudists. As if the shock of seeing his parents naked wasn't bad enough they've now decided that they want to go out in public. To make matters even worse everyone seems to think that Michael is the one with the problem so he gets to spend his afternoons with the school counsellor to talk about his feelings.
Michael is a fab main character although I have to wonder from his slightly stilted way of speaking if he was slightly autistic. If not autistic then I'd definitely say he has OCD tendencies, he has very set routines and gets very unsettled when things change and he really doesn't like to be looked at or touched. He tells his story part in diary style entries that his counsellor gets him to write and partly through the transcripts of his counselling sessions. I love the way he is constantly creating lists and adding footnotes to his writing to include extra information. You can't help but connect to Michael as he copes with the embarrassment his parents cause him and deals with the fallout from his brother's actions. He really does end up managing to get himself into some awkward situations that take a lot of explaining.
Socks Are Not Enough is a fun, fast read and one that's guaranteed to have you laughing out loud. I can't wait to see what Mark Lowery comes up with next and I hope we get to see more of Michael and his antics in the future.
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