Books for Teens · Kids books · Short Stories

Hello Mum by Bernardine Evaristo

A short story about gang culture in London through the eyes of a 14-year-old boy. Now, I don’t fit into the intended audience (I would guess it being around 10-14 years?) and I picked this book out just because it looked interesting and held promise.

Its told in a linear-fashion up to the point where the young protagonist (or anti hero, depends how you look at it.) is knifed in a fish-and-chip shop. The language is simple, and full of modern slang references which apparently teens use in gang culture and elsewhere.

The book takes the form of a letter written by the protagonist, Jerome, to his mother following his stabbing. There were times when the story stalled a bit, but it was still reasonably solid and at times sad. Not the sort of book I would usually read, because these short stories often sacrifice plot and development for weak characterization and storyline. But I can only say that maybe it was the fact that I am much older than the target age range for this story.

Was interesting to see knife culture from the perspective of a young person, though. I suppose Jerome represents the many young men who have died at the hands of gang culture. This could be a good book to read if crime was being discussed in a secondary school class and this book could provoke discussion in a PSHE lesson.

MY RATING: ** / *****

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