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What Lexie Did Paperback – 5 Apr 2018
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Drama Emma Shevah. We follow the turmoil of Lexie, a child whose family and friends are sent spiraling
after a simple lie told to protect her own mother. Shevah expertly crafts a tale where we see Lexie’s
close knit community dissolve in front of our very eyes, and the burden that the young child carries with
her as she tries to make amends for her part in a family bust-up.
Lexie is part of a traditionally large Greek-Cypriot family living in London. This nod to the cultural
diversity in a city such as a London is a superb addition to the story, and one which screams relevance to
its audience. At its core, What Lexie Did is a story about family, and the theme of Greek-Cypriot culture
throughout, even down to the recipe for Lexie’s family favourite galaktoboureka in the back of the book,
flawlessly backs up the main point of the story. I loved finding out about Lexie’s many uncles, aunties
and cousins, and especially the inseparable relationship between Lexie and her cousin Eleni, which made
their crumbling friendship even more powerful. Without Shevah developing this friendship in the first
part of the book, the rest would be nowhere near as powerful, so credit to the author for her
craftsmanship in this area.
Through the first few chapters, we see Lexie ‘learning about lying’. We see the difficulty that children go
through when having to decide whether to tell the truth to their family, versus lying to protect their
friends. This is something that all children go through, and I really felt the quandary that Lexie was going
through at this stage, as will the many children who read this. The knock on effects of the lie that Lexie
tells to her family are clear to see and will surely get children thinking about the knock on effects of
telling such a lie, even if it was told for an understandable reason! Having a book with such a great
morale, along with great characters and cultural references, is a gift for many teachers and parents, and
as well as being entertained I really think that children will question their own views of morality through
reading this story.
The illustrations and ‘jottings’ throughout the book by Helen Crawford-White add to the overall
presentation of the story, and it falls into the very tight niche of being a book that children from all over
primary school will be able to access and enjoy. Well done Emma Shevah; you’ve written a gem.
Lexie and Eleni aren’t just cousins, they’re practically twins. They do everything together. When Anastasia’s family move into the area, Greek Cypriot tradition calls for filoxenia – a welcoming party. And that’s the day that Lexie learns that sometimes you just have to lie. As Eleni and Anastasia’s friendship blossoms, Lexie finds herself being pushed out, and a distance opens up between her and Eleni. When tragedy strikes the family, Lexie finds herself caught in an impossible situation and lies – an absolute whopper that tears the close knit family apart. How is she ever going to put it right, bring her family back together and save her friendship?
A wonderfully warm, poignant story of family, friendship and lots of Greek food! Emma Shevah brings the large, loud, colourful Greek-Cypriot family to life, immersing us in their culture, cuisine and traditions. Exploring lies in all their forms, we are taken on an emotional journey as the close-knit family is torn apart, and Lexie searches for a way to bring them back together. We see the toll on each family member, but none more clearly than Lexie’s mum, who is a shadow of her former self as grief holds her firmly in it’s grip and she no longer has her sister for support. Packed with humour and heart, What Lexie Did is an absolute joy to read. Now to try the recipes at the end of the book!
Great for fans of A Library Of Lemons, Sweet Pizza and Just Call Me Spaghetti Hoop Boy.