Exit Through the Gift Shop

Maryam Master

Exit Through the Gift Shop
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Exit Through the Gift Shop

Maryam Master

Anahita Rosalind Ghorban-Galaszczuk (yes, that really is her name but you can call her Ana) is discovering that life is absurd. As if dying of cancer at the age of 12.5 isn’t bad enough, she still has to endure daily insults from her nemesis, Alyssa (Queen Mean) Anderson.

Ana’s on a wild roller-coaster of life and death, kindness and cruelty, ordinary and extraordinary. And she’s got a few things to do before she exits…

Review

Exit Through the Gift Shop is Maryam Master’s first novel. Master comes from a successful career writing for TV and the theatre, where she has helped both Oliver Jeffers and David Walliams bring their work to the stage. Her first effort creating a novel is magical: her text seamlessly blends together with Astred Hicks’ illustrations to tell the story of Anahita Rosalind Ghorban-Galaszczuk, otherwise known as Ana.

Ana is 12.5 years old with Iranian heritage. She loves school, her best mate Al, and her parents, who happen to be divorced. Both are with new partners and Ana has some half siblings, which is all good with her. What Ana doesn’t like is Alyssa (Queen Mean) Anderson and her constant bullying, which until recently was just in person, but has now moved online. Oh, and of course she hates the fact that she is dying from cancer – Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. That definitely creates some awkward situations.

Told via her latest school assignment, Ana’s story covers some intense and challenging topics, but it is all handled with such humour and heartfelt kindness. Some brilliant word definitions are inserted throughout to help expand on Ana’s feelings. This is a book children and adults can both learn from, and Ana is a character that I personally came to admire. For ages 8+.


Claire Atherfold is the manager and the children’s book buyer at Readings State Library.

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