Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Review: Trauma Queen

Summary: Every tween girl knows what it's like to have a mom who can be a little embarrasing at times. But for Marigold, it goes way beyond embarrassing. Marigold's single mom is a performance artist, meaning she stages dramatic, wacky performances to express her personal beliefs. Things like wrapping herself in saran wrap for a piece on plastic surgery, or inviting people over in the middle of the night to videotape her sleeping. In fact, Marigold's mom's performances caused such a ruckus in their last town that the two of them, along with Marigold's little sister, have just had to move. Now Marigold's starting a new school, missing her best friend like crazy, and trying to fit in all over again in the shadow of a mom who's famous for all the wrong reasons. As if that's not bad enough, Marigold's mom takes on a new job--teaching drama at Marigold's school! Now all the kids know instantly just how weird her mom is, and Marigold's worried she'll never be able to have a friendship that can survive her mother. -- Aladdin

I think I've read all of Barbara Dee's middle grade books and I have to say that each and every one of them is special in their own way. Her most recent book is called TRAUMA QUEEN and tells the story of a very unique mother-daughter relationship. I think many moms and their tween daughters will relate to this hilarious (and touching) story about the tension between Marigold and her mom.

I bet if you'd ask most tween girls, they could tell you a story about a time or two when their moms embarrassed them. I'm not naive enough to think that Booking Daughter doesn't have her own set of stories; however, I am pretty confident in saying that nothing I've done has come close to the things that Marigold's mom has done to embarrass her. Marigold has a larger-than-life mom who considers herself a performance artist. In other words, she's a very creative and dramatic actress who does somewhat wacky performances to convey her personal beliefs. For example, Saran Wrap and olive oil were both used as props to get her points across about plastic surgery and our gas-guzzling society.

But embarrassing as Marigold's mom has been in the past, it was what Marigold's mom did in their last hometown that really put poor Marigold over-the-edge -- you'll have to read the book to get the inside scoop on this! When Marigold's mother decides that they have to move to a new town -- for a fresh start, Marigold is once again forced to start a new school (which isn't easy in the 7th grade) and make new friends. However, Marigold's life really takes a turn for the "dramatic" when her mom begins teaching an after-school drama club at Marigold's new school.

I thought TRAUMA QUEEN was such a fun book and I just loved how it explored some very real tween situation. While Marigold's life was a little more "dramatic" than most tweens, I still think young girls will relate to her feelings of embarrassment and insecurity. Not only will they be able to appreciate the relationship Marigold has with her mom, but some might even recognize themselves in Marigold's attempts to make friends in a new school as well as her own creative way to express her feelings. And I think most moms will agree that the messages in this book about acceptance and forgiveness are just terrific!

TRAUMA QUEEN would be an ideal book selection for a mother daughter book club especially since the mother daughter relationship is such a strong theme in the story. I found this great reading guide on the author's website which delves into many of the book's interesting issues including mother/child relationships, the importance of grandmothers, friendships, embarrassing moments, and "drama" to name just a few. I appreciated that the questions were geared towards tweens and allows them to discuss many of the issues they face on a regular basis.

I thoroughly enjoyed TRAUMA QUEEN and I definitely recommend it for tween girls. Make sure you check out Barbara Dee's fantastic Book Club Exchange guest post!

Thanks to Blue Slip Media for sending me a copy of this novel.


Pam Pho said...

I just love your review of this. I am so jealous you have read them all. I am busy buying up all of the rest and my finished copy of Trauma Queen. I sent my order in today. This is a fabulous review, I just love it to pieces!

bermudaonion said...

I'll be starting this today so I'm glad to see it's so cute. I'm sure I never embarrassed Vance when he was that age! LOL

rhapsodyinbooks said...

That might be fun for moms in a mother daughter bookclub to hear about all the embarrassing things! (especially because they probably don't approach what Marigold's mom was like) :--)

Anonymous said...

What a fun idea, I miss reading Middle school books with my daughter(she's all grown up now). This sounds like a great read.

Barbara Dee said...

Love your review, Julie! Thanks so much! (P.S. I NEVER embarrass my own daughter. Nope, not ever.)

Laura at Library of Clean Reads said...

It seems to be the perfect book to read with one's daughter if only just to laugh together and make daughter realize her mom is not so quirky after all!