But to make it all better, today I am going to be reviewing an amazing graphic novel that you can curl up and lose yourself in. I was kindly sent The Pavee and the Buffer Girl by Nina Douglas in exchange for an honest review.
The Pavee and the Buffer Girl is a Romeo and Juliet-esque love story, following the unlikely friendship between Jim, a traveller boy, and Kit, a settled girl who takes Jim under her wing, teaching her to read and making his time at their school a little less traumatising. For Jim and his family, their life is coloured by prejudice and hardship, and friendships are hard when you have no idea when you will be next uprooted...
Intrigued? Check out the blurb here...
Jim and his family have halted by Dundray and the education people have been round mouthing the law. In school the Traveller kids suffer at the hands of teachers and other pupils alike, called 'tinker-stinkers', 'dirty gyps' and worse. Then the punches start. The only friendly face is Kit, a settled girl who takes Jim under her wing and teaches him to read in the great cathedral chamber of the cave below the town. With Kit and the reading, Jim seems to have found a way to exist in Dundray, but everyday prejudice and a shocking act of violence see his life uprooted.
I haven't read a graphic novel in such a long time, and this was a special one, to say the least. The illustrations by Emma Shoard made the book so magical, and I completely lost myself in it. I loved the character of Jim - his strength, determination and defiance in the face of awful prejudice and bullying made him such an inspiring character to read about. Kit was also a fantastic character and their relationship was so beautiful to read about.
The story is so elegantly written and everything was so well described. Siobhan Dowd is evidently someone who not only ardently cared about social justice, but who also was a magnificent storyteller. This was an immensely moving story which opened my eyes to the atrocious prejudice traveller families will face on a day to day basis, and particularly how parents' intolerance and discrimination can affect their children's behaviour and actions. The children were by far the cruellest perpetrators of the prejudice and resultant violencein this book, and I think there is a lot we can learn today about how we are affecting the opinions of the children around us, with the specific political rhetoric (surrounding refugees, for example), and the importance of teaching children kindness, respect and tolerance.
This is a book that exudes love and kindness, that somehow survives even in the extremes of adversity. This is a quick read, but a vitally important read nonetheless. I finished the book with a feeling that love and tolerance really can change the world, even if it is two people and one small town at a time.
So please rush down to your local bookshop and pick up a copy! I promise you won't regret it.
Buy The Pavee and the Buffer Girl here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Pavee-Buffer-Girl-Siobhan-Dowd/dp/1911370049/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1492767469&sr=8-1&keywords=the+pavee+and+the+buffer+girl
Check out Siobhan Dowd (and the Siobhan Dowd Trust) here: http://siobhandowdtrust.com
Until next time :)