Book Binge – Life on the Refrigerator Door

book bingeMy first book is one I borrowed from school, Life on the Refrigerator Door by Alice Kuipers. It’s one of the books vying for for this year’s Sheffield Children’s Book Award*. I was warned that I would need a box of tissues…

The book is simply a series of notes, the type that every family member has left or received at some time. In this case the notes tell us about the lives of a busy mother, who always seems to be working, and her teenage daughter Claire. They don’t see as much of each other as perhaps they should, as a result they often communicate through the notes that they leave for each other on the refrigerator door.

Many of the notes are very ordinary: shopping lists, Claire telling her Mum that she will be babysitting or some news from school, a note to say that Claire’s boyfriend called while she was out. Mixed in amongst all these everyday notes we start to see another story develop, that of Claire’s Mum’s fight against breast cancer.

The format of the book is so simple, but appearances are deceptive – this is a skillfully written narrative. The story unfolds through the written dialogue between the two main characters, each of whom has their own distinctive voice.

The book may be aimed mainly at a younger audience, so it is easy to read, but readers of any age would enjoy it, I certainly did.

There is a website here for people who have read the book to leave their own messages – on a refrigerator door of course! There are a lot of comments on there, including a few that are very touching.

* This page is currently somewhat out of date. The shortlist of books that we’re reading for the 2008 award is here.

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