The Story of Tracy Beaker is a book I’m sure many of you will have heard of, if not read! It’s a particularly popular Jacqueline Wilson book, mainly due to the television adaption of it, starring Danny Harmer that aired throughout my entire childhood. There are even spin-off television series that have been made since! But what’s so great about the book?
Tracy Beaker is a loud, troubled, cheeky, ten year old who lives in a care home. She was abandoned at this care home at a young age by a mother who couldn’t look after her, and has a difficult time adjusting to the fact that her mum doesn’t visit her. Tracy calls the care home the dumping ground and her book explores day to day life in the care home and all the relationships she builds, good and bad, with the other children and the carers. Tracy has a particular enemy at the care home called Justine Littlewood. Justine’s dad sends her lots of expensive gifts and Tracy is probably a little jealous, and they are both mean to each other throughout.
Tracy is always telling extravagant stories to make living in the dumping ground more bearable. For example, she tells the other children that her mum doesn’t visit her because she’s a glamourous movie star who’s too busy jet-setting around the world to look after her properly. She is also known for blaming hay fever every time she cries – this detail is picked up massively in the TV series! This makes it hard for Tracy to make friends as they realise she’s lying to them about her past and her emotions, though this is just her coping mechanism for these things. Tracy endures various trials throughout the book, including the possibility of being fostered, and the book is written from her point of view so you really get to know her character well.
Tracy Beaker really is a lovable and an incredibly imaginative character, and this book gives a warm twist to a serious subject. If you’ve seen the film or television programmes around her character and the dumping ground, I’m sure you’ll love the book. It could almost be argued to be a modern children classic, purely due to its insane popularity! It even won a Blue Peter Choice Award! Furthermore, Jacqueline Wilson has written a number of sequels for Tracy Beaker, so you won’t run out of reading material any time soon! Happy reading!