Book review

Joe's Story by Rachel Anderson (2001)

I was going to say that this is a sad story, but you might not agree with me. In this story Joe tells us, in his own words, how he used to live with his Grandad:

Grandad's name was Joe, same as me.
'You know,' he'd say when I was small, 'we're very alike. It's a wonder people can tell us apart.'
That was one of Grandad's little jokes. Of course people could tell us apart. He was an old man with a grey beard and I was just a small boy then.'

Joe and his Grandad lived quietly together in their small flat. They got on very well. Joe's mother died when he was small, and so did his grandmother. His father breezed through occasionally, borrowing money which he had no intention of ever returning. But Joe's rock was his Grandad.

Grandad had high hopes for Joe. He wanted Joe to stay on at school and go to college. Something Grandad had never been able to do himself.

But plans can go wrong, can't they. One day, Joe comes home from school to find the flat locked up. Grandad has fallen ill and been taken to hospital. What will become of Joe if anything happens to Grandad? And has Grandad given Joe enough strength to carry on without him?

Read the book to see how Joe copes. I loved this book. I thought it was terribly sad, but the future could still be promising.

This is really a short story. If you are a slow reader, although it is short, I think you will find that this book really says a lot. It's very emotional. If you haven't particularly enjoyed reading up until now, this book may make you feel differently about that.

If you are a habitual reader, don't make the mistake of thinking this is too short to bother with. I think you will remember it for a long time after you've finished reading it.

What can I read next?

There are plenty of other brilliant books in the same series as this, all written by superb writers. Have a look at this horror story by Mark Morris:

Slightly longer length, but written in simple language and suitable for older readers, have a look at this one by Benjamin Zephaniah:

Or this one by Malorie Blackman, which is written in simple, direct language:

You might be interested to look at this exciting and emotional shortish story by Michael Morpurgo:

Rachel Anderson has written a lot of other full-length books, including this really horrific story set in the future:

Also, the Bookchooser has found these books with a similar profile:

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