When I was asked if I’d like to give away a copy of The Person Controller, I’ll admit I didn’t leap about.
I mean I really like David Baddiel – when he’s nattering aimlessly away with Frank Skinner. But I’ve never read any of his books (sorry Mr Baddiel…), so I really didn’t know if his latest offering would be up to much.
(what? Look, LittleStuff is nothing if it’s not honest)
So I had a quick squizz at a few pages to see what it was like.
My tea went cold and I was on chapter seven before I noticed.
I flipping LOVE this book – and as soon as I’ve finished the must-do work for the day I shall be heading straight back to it. And I’m not reading it to 8yr old Bear, either. No – it’s just for me. It genuinely made me laugh out loud. Plus I was really impressed at his very early description of the fatness of Eric – descriptive, honest but not rude or offensive. And so funny…
“…He didn’t have terrible water retention; he had terrible bacon-sandwich retention.”
Fred and Ellie are twins. But not identical (because that’s impossible for a boy and a girl). They do like all the same things, though. Especially video games. Which they are very good at. They aren’t that good, however, at much else – like, for example, football, or dealing with the school bullies.
Then, they meet the Mystery Man, who sends them a video game controller, which doesn’t look like any other controller they’ve ever seen. And it doesn’t control any of their usual games. When the twins find out what it does control, though, it seems like the answer to all their problems. And the key to all their wildest dreams. At least it seems like that…
I love Fred and Ellie; it’s the sheer recognisable ordinariness of them – any reader will recognise the life they inhabit, and enjoy the references to familiar games and hurt with them as they deal with Morris & Isla. Best of all for me is the underlying current of strong, unspoken sibling affection that floods the story.This book is as much about what isn’t said – it’s a clever, subtle read that anyone will love but particularly I cannot wait to read it with my 8yr old.
So yes – I’m really really sorry Mr Baddiel. But better late than never; and rest assured I’m going to hunt out The Parent Agency too, now. Also – special mention for Jim Field’s brilliant cartoon illustrations. They’re properly perfect.