This is a review of the book 'Hello Mum' by Bernadine Evaristo. It's from the Quick Reads collection which are designed to help with adult literacy. This is never the sort of book I'd usually pick up but I won a pile of quick reads and I am the sort of person that if it's sat there, I'll read it!
The book cover promises 'a story of murder and heartbreak' and is written in the form of a letter, from a son to his mum. It tells his story, how he was really a good lad but got in with the wrong crowd which resulted in his untimely end.
The language in the book is all 'yoof' speak and text talk. He puts LMAO (Laugh My Arse Off) and LOL (Laugh Out Loud) in nearly every paragraph which was a little annoying but truly did fit in with the style of the book.
In the book, 14 year old Jerome Cole-Wallace describes his fears and hopes, career aspirations, issues at school and most accurately the gang cultures which surround his home. He gets into scrapes and situations where he narrowly escapes and even he admits he didn't listen to the warning signs. His ultimate ending outside the chip shop is brutal and brief and sensitively written.
Whilst this is entirely fictional, it is totally believable. At the end, the author acknowledges the teenagers who did a reality check on the book before it was published, changing the language, tone and reference to what type of clothes are trendy.
It's probably a good one to let teenagers in danger of joining gangs so they understand that it's not glamorous and people do get hurt.
As I said at the beginning, it's not the sort of book I'd usually read, and whilst it took me under 30 minutes to read I'm glad I did.