I need to tell you something. It isn’t easy to say. I’ve been keeping a secret from you for quite some time now, and the guilt is becoming unbearable. It’s time you knew…
I have read a total of 32 of Jaqueline Wilson’s books. I often re-read my favourites. I was addicted to ‘Cookie’ and I cried for days about ‘My Sister Jodie’. She has been one of my favourite authors for a long time now. There. I said it.
Ever since I found a copy of ‘The Bed and Breakfast Star’ at the bottom of our family bookshelf I was hooked. Having been read by each of my four brothers and sisters numerous times, the book was old and battered, but I loved it all the same. It was so different from the rest of my identical stories of dragons and fairies and painfully well-behaved children. I thought Elsa, the main character, was brilliant! She was bright and bubbly and got into lots of trouble. I had never met any homeless children before, but it never mattered to me one bit that her living situation was so different to mine – her being curly headed and hilarious, in my eyes we were practically the same.
For many years after that, I thrived off of Wilson. I became sensitive towards anyone with an unusual home life - understanding so much more about why I should show kindness to the people around me. I read all of what they had to offer in the school library, fighting with the other girls over who’s turn it was to take home ‘The Suitcase Kid’. My friends grew envious as every time my parents took me to the bookshop my collection grew larger and larger. It is majorly because of Wilson that I love reading as much as I do. She was the catalyst for this passion of mine
But as we all grew up at a startling speed, Wilson was cast out of our bookshelves for being too immature, leaving many near empty. Wilson was what children read - not practically-almost-adult preteens! I pretended I had rid myself of Wilson as well, embarrassed by the joyful nostalgia she brought me.
There’s a big stack of her books in the corner of my bedroom that I always push behind the curtain when friends come around. I’m worried that the sheer size of my collection will alarm them. They may not be accepting of my unusual reading habits.
“Is that ‘Tracy Beaker’?!” They scoff in my imagination, before promptly leaving my house in disgust and texting everyone I know about my dirty little secret. I am left alone in my room, completely humiliated.
But should I really be ashamed? It’s quite unpopular at the moment to be a fan of Jacqueline Wilson. Readers have labelled her writing predictable, boring and childish and have turned their nose away in revulsion. I’m going to let you in on another little secret though: most of them are lying too!
I was recently at a female friend’s house and upon entering her room the first thing I did was scour her bookshelf for anything I hadn’t read. As my eyes wandered over the familiar John Green titles and the ‘Hunger Games’ hardbacks they landed upon something most surprising: ‘Lola Rose’ by Jacqueline Wilson. I pulled the book from its place with elation and grinned at my friend. She had a mini-collection of her own: ‘Vicky Angel’, ‘The Lottie Project’, ‘Double Act’; They were all here!
My friend went pink in the face and snatched the book from my hands, shoving it hastily into the back of her drawer. “I never did like that book. Jacqueline Wilson’s so boring!”
Oh really, dear chum? You think she’s boring? Is that why all these books are so battered and well-thumbed? You were so bored by her that you accidentally read all her books twelve times?
Much like high-school musical or Spongebob Squarepants, people don’t tell you they like Jacqueline Wilson because they are embarrassed that they will appear immature. She is something we were all meant to have outgrown years ago but never really did. We cannot deny that Jacqueline Wilson is good at what she does! Yes, her stories all seem to share themes of divorce and family troubles, but that doesn’t seem to stop children today from coming back for more. They’re warm and comforting books that taught most of us girls (females being her main audience) not only about the issues of children not as fortunate as ourselves, but also to love reading.
Though I do not read much Wilson anymore (finding myself unable to connect with the children in her stories so far from my own age), I refuse to stand up and say that I never liked her. I did. We all did. So let’s stop all this shame and just stand up and say it.
‘I love Jacqueline Wilson and you all probably do, too!’
If you fancy reliving your old Jacqueline Wilson memories then why not go visit her website?
Or if you completely disagree with me then be sure to tell me why! Either down in the comments, on my facebook page, or tweet me!