I love Rosie Jones. I think she’s a really funny and odd person. She’s consistently hilarious when she appears on chat shows or game shows. So, I was already super excited when she released a children’s book. I mean how could it not be funny? I was also looking forward to seeing how she handled the topic of disability in the book. Jones has cerebral palsy so if anyone could write a story offering a realistic insight then it’s her. I decided to also buy the audiobook because this seemed like the kind of book that deserved to be heard read out loud. The fact that there is an introduction by Jones herself was an added bonus.
Rosie Jones’ debut novel is a win for representation. Not only does she have cerebral palsy herself but so does her main character, Edie Eckhart. The Amazing Edie Eckhart is a book that manages to be about and somehow not about having a disability. It’s a part of the story for obvious reasons but the story is mainly concerned with the usual sort of stuff. Edie is on the verge of turning 12 and has plenty of concerns. She starts secondary school and discovers that she’s been put in a different class to her best friend, Oscar. This is just the start and Edie’s life is suddenly turned upside down.
Oscar gets a girlfriend and starts playing football. Meaning all of the plans they’d made before school started begin to fall apart. Will she be able to find her own place in school? Throughout the story, we get to see Edie’s worries about making friends, finding love and finding a new hobby. Her disability exists but it isn’t the thing that holds her back. Edie is just like everybody else but with a bit more of a wobble. Not only will this great book be uplifting for young readers with cerebral palsy but it will also educate other readers about it. Everything is done in a fun and engaging manner that is easy to digest.
It’s also an utterly charming book. The story is told through Edie’s diary, so you get to hear all of her thoughts. This means the novel is full of pop culture references and disdain for her teachers. It’s been a while since I was a 12-year-old girl but it feels like a realistic representation. Edie is a great character before you even get to the disability. She’s strong, funny and doesn’t give a damn what anyone thinks. She also grows as a character as the narrative goes on. Edie slowly has to come to the realisation that she is letting her disability hold her back when she doesn’t need to. She’s inspirational.
Reading this book is so comforting. It’s full of wonderful characters and storylines. It’s got plenty of jokes but also plenty of serious issues. It has the definite feel of a Jacqueline Wilson book, which makes sense because Jones highlights Wilson as one of her inspirations. The Amazing Edie Eckhart manages to be silly but also has maturity to it. I think it would be great for all younger readers. However, it will be children living with disabilities and particularly cerebral palsy that will really benefit from this book. Having that representation in literature will be life-changing for many children. That’s definitely worth 5 stars.
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