My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece by Annabel Pitcher, narrated by, David Tennant
Oh goodness this is a great book but have some tissues ready! 10 year old Jamie doesn’t really understand why his sister Rose is still on the mantelpiece she died 5 years ago and to be honest he doesn’t really remember her at all, just that her dying in a terrorist attack changed the face of his family in more ways than just Rose being gone. Jamie’s mum left them, his dad drinks all the time, his sister Jas (Rose’s twin) is a teenager and tries to do what she can for Jamie. Things at school aren’t that great he is being bullied and is falling for a Muslim girl who he thinks is beautiful and funny and wonderful but how will his dad react, because according to Jamie’s dad it was all Muslims that killed his sister. These are just some of the trials and tribulations Jamie goes through in this wonderful coming of age book.
I really liked how this book was written we really get inside Jamie’s head and his thought process and the fighting between what his dad believes and what Jamie feels especially towards Sunya. Is Jamie naïve yes of course, he is 10 years old, is it wonderful to see that he doesn’t feel the same antagonism towards Muslims that his dad does yes it is, but the battle to try and understand everyone is really at the heart of this book. To understand why his Mum left, why his dad can’t let Rose go, and why it isn’t ok to like Sunya.
There are parts of this book that will pull at your heart string especially in the end, sometimes the answers you seek are not the ones you really want and when Jamie’s eyes are opened about his parents it isn’t always an easy pill to swallow. I think this is an important book about race relations, grief and family and that just because your parents feel one way doesn’t mean you have to feel the same way! This book really touched my heart by the end it was a little slow beginning but once you start to see who Jamie is and what he goes through you will be hooked just as I was.
Now the audio production this is narrated by, David Tennant Yes that David Tennant and even with his thick Scottish brogue I had a hard time whenever he said Rose (my fellow Whovians will understand this) but once I got over it and just concentrated on him being Jamie I was good to go. But I do wonder if this book affected me more because it was David’s voice? No, I think I still would have had the emotional connection to Jamie even though in my head he looked like a young David!
I think this is a book for advanced middle grade readers, because it deals with death, an alcoholic parent divorce, terrorism, race relations , religious differences, bullying wow now that I look at that list this book covers a lot of ground and that’s what makes it a must read.