Pain, My Mother, Sir Tiffy&Me

Michael,Gerard Bauer

Pain, My Mother, Sir Tiffy&Me
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Pain, My Mother, Sir Tiffy&Me

Michael,Gerard Bauer

It really all started with The Pain. He officially came into my life exactly nine weeks and one day before our Year Ten Graduation Dance. And despite my very best efforts to wipe the day from my mind, I can still remember it clearly. It was a Friday. The thirteenth day of the month. Notice anything there?

Maggie Butt is facing not only a stranger taking over her mother’s life but her own as well, and she is not going to let that happen. But then there’s the one-eyed snaggle-toothed cat, senior subject choices, the dream date and Cyber Boy, the geek in the library to contend with as well. It’s going to be an interesting year.


Any book that announces itself with, ‘It all started with The Pain’ has me from the very first paragraph, especially when it’s obvious The Pain is no mere physical discomfort but a deeper agony in the shape of a person; the kind of agony that most young adults can easily relate to!

Maggie Butt addresses her readers directly with a good dose of sarcastic humour, opening a window into the stress and drama of this 15-year old’s tumultuous life. From the outset she’s incredibly likeable: here’s a teenage girl who is sufficiently self-aware to realise that all the whining and black moods of the past aren’t really all that productive; Maggie has all the nous she needs to instigate change.

Naturally, she’s struggling with a number of challenges, both at home and at school. Not only is there her mother’s new boyfriend (The Pain) and his perceived intrusion into her family to contend with, but at school she must somehow get back her As in English, find a date for the graduation dance and make at least one friend.

How she handles life’s challenges, navigates the obstacles thrown in her way and adapts to change is revealed in a light- hearted and entertaining way; Maggie’s got a realistic plan and, hopefully, just enough nervous energy to achieve it. And we’re on her side, barracking for her.

Award-winning author Michael Gerard Bauer has a profound appreciation for the young people he writes about and for; his characters and their dilemmas are always written with great affection and humour. Maggie Butt’s story is no exception; it’s the type of wild emotional rollercoaster any young girl can relate to. And he knows how to write a neat, satisfying ending that young adults will enjoy. Recommended for readers aged 12 and up.

Athina Clarke is a Children’s & YA Book Specialist at Readings Malvern.

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