4 out of 4 stars
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The Middle Kid by William Peskett is a delightful fictional narrative about a young girl named Alex and her account of growing up as a middle child. She has two brothers, whose names are Bo and Conrad. Bo is the oldest brother who aspires to be an Olympic swimmer. Conrad is an unconventionally bright child, who is the baby of the family. Alex’s parents are happily married. Her father works as an accountant and her mother is the CEO of a small, but successful, bank.
This novel begins when Alex was young. Her parents worked early in the morning and a live-in caregiver stayed with the children. Through the story, she watches her brother Bo’s struggles to become a champion swimmer as well on Conrad’s difficulties with school. She loves to sleep and dream but, most of all, she loves to draw. This is often her escape when life as the middle child becomes too difficult.
Alex’s story is a journey through adolescence. Her words are simple and witty, but reflect the innocence that is only seen in childhood. Each sentence is a wonderful description of humanity and an enlightening tale of how difficult both childhood and adulthood can be. The story progresses through Alex’s education and her dreams of becoming an author and artist. Her parents’ struggles are highlighted in a way that makes everyday tasks seem menial in a child’s mind. Peskett does a wonderful job making Alex’s feelings feel both real and relatable.
The Middle Kid is brimming with themes about life, childhood, growth, and forgiveness. Alex often feels neglected, as if her older and younger brothers consume most of her parents’ attention. She adapts with maturity beyond her age as she expresses forgiveness towards her parents with a simplicity that many could aspire to. Alex’s tale reminds parents that children are people in their own right, with dreams and heartaches of their own.
I rate this novel 4 out of 4 stars. There is no set plot, since it is written similarly to a diary narrative, but that does not cause the reader’s attention to wander. Each story that Alex recounts from her young and growing mind is enlightening in many ways. She understands that Bo’s hard work towards swimming will come with rewards and that success must be earned. Even as an inexperienced artist, she is able to see her own potential and create a wonderful masterpiece in the form of a children’s book. I would recommend this book to anyone of any age. It is truly an enjoyable and inspiring read.
The Middle Kid
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