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Official Review: Chonicles of a child by Pearl Allen

Posted: 13 Apr 2018, 23:03
by kastle
[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Chonicles of a child" by Pearl Allen.]
Book Cover
3 out of 4 stars
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Chronicles of a Child by Pearl Allen is a diary of sorts. Bessie, the narrator of her own story, tells us the saddening events of her childhood in her own words and the hardships she faced. There are also clay-like illustrations placed in the book to accommodate her story. She starts her story off as a young child and immediately digs deep into her harsh family life. Her parents have a huge influence on how she viewed the world, and this worldview only gets worse as she gets older. She experiences everything from racism to perverts at such a young age, and she tells it exactly how it is with an unfiltered view.

The part I enjoyed most about this book was her self-awareness through the whole chronicle. You immediately want to hug this character, and what she went through. She mentions in the beginning that the events of her childhood were how she saw it. She can't account for how her brothers, sisters, or parents would tell the same events. This gives me a sense of her character, and that she's not trying to convince us or have us believe these events. She is just telling it exactly how she experienced it. Her self-awareness stays through the whole novel, like her parents constantly splitting up and reflecting as well as questioning the idea of love.

The pieces that I disliked were the jumping back and forth constantly. For example, she would be discussing how it was living with her aunt and then jump back to a memory from when she was a kid that wasn't totally relevant to anything about her aunt. It was difficult at times to keep up what age she was when she discussed certain memories, or suddenly backtracking a few years. It's funny because she would be completely aware of this and apologize for her lack of organization in telling her story. I'm not sure if the constant back and forth was intentional to the author, but I definitely found it hard to keep up at times.

Another piece that confused me were the illustrations. There were some illustrations that didn't make a lot of sense. Occasionally, the context of the story she is discussing doesn't match the illustrations on the next page. I appreciated the colorful paintings in the story on its own because it evoked a lot of emotion, especially on the character's faces. It was very raw and real. But there were so many characters to follow, it was hard to know exactly who was who in the illustrations.

I would rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. It was really interesting and tugged at my emotions the whole way through. Bessie, the main voice in the story, reminded me a lot of myself in how reflective she was, and self-aware about everything in her life. She wasn't afraid to question or push back when she needed to. But the constant back and forth with memories and events confused me, and the illustrations could have been better placed. I would highly recommend this book to anyone over 15 who enjoys reading life stories and can handle a lot of sensitive content.

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Chonicles of a child
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Re: Official Review: Chonicles of a child by Pearl Allen

Posted: 20 Apr 2018, 07:27
by Helen_Combe
Great review. It’s a pity that the book was let down by the illustrations. I usually like a book that shifts back and forth as it maintains interest, but it needs to be coherent and relevant.

Re: Official Review: Chonicles of a child by Pearl Allen

Posted: 21 Apr 2018, 16:07
by Libs_Books
It's very difficult to be critical of an author who has such a traumatic tale to tell, but clearly the book has some quite serious flaws. I think you've been very fair and balanced in your review.

Re: Official Review: Chonicles of a child by Pearl Allen

Posted: 25 Apr 2018, 04:52
by bnoy
I always find it so frustrating when people don't use flashbacks well, because they really can be fantastic. Thank you for your honest review!

Re: Official Review: Chonicles of a child by Pearl Allen

Posted: 22 May 2018, 17:17
by kastle
Libs_Books wrote:
21 Apr 2018, 16:07
It's very difficult to be critical of an author who has such a traumatic tale to tell, but clearly the book has some quite serious flaws. I think you've been very fair and balanced in your review.
Thanks so much! I try to be as fair as I can in my reviews!

Re: Official Review: Chonicles of a child by Pearl Allen

Posted: 23 May 2018, 12:15
by kastle
bnoy wrote:
25 Apr 2018, 04:52
I always find it so frustrating when people don't use flashbacks well, because they really can be fantastic. Thank you for your honest review!
You are so welcome! And absolutely, too many flashback can definitely be too much.

Re: Official Review: Chonicles of a child by Pearl Allen

Posted: 23 May 2018, 12:17
by kastle
Helen_Combe wrote:
20 Apr 2018, 07:27
Great review. It’s a pity that the book was let down by the illustrations. I usually like a book that shifts back and forth as it maintains interest, but it needs to be coherent and relevant.
I totally agree! It needs to hold my interest but also be relevant enough where I stay deep in the book.