The Diary of Pelly D by L.J. Adlington
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The Diary of Pelly D by L.J. Adlington
I was doing my semi annual purchase of paper books from Amazon, so usually I have a full list of possibilities in my wish list. This time I was a bit scarce to making my numbers and knowing that at least three of the novels I was ordering were going to be epic fiction I thought I'd check a few that looked a bit light and that's how The Diary of Pelly D managed to get on my list. That and the excellent bargain Amazon let me have it for. I was a bit concerned that this was listed for ages 7-10 and that one of the main characters was 14 years of age. But I'm not one of those that subscribe to the notion that books for young adults should be avoided at all cost: by adults. Still this is more middle age and published under a children's label and at some point in my selections I was pushed over my limit and could’ve let it slide off my list. I'm certainly glad I left it there and I have to say that light reading is not what this is. This book is for all ages and is quite thought provoking and would definitely be a double treat for the target age level.
Being written in diary form the author L.J. Adlington takes some advantage in style by having the writer use strange abbreviations such as Shd Cd Wd for Should Would and Could. Fortunately for the reader it's mostly limited to those or I for one would have been a bit troubled. Another strange convention is the naming of characters like Tony V and Pelly D. There's reason for this that shows up later in the narrative. This is a tale that takes place in a fictional future world that has been founded with the notion that the planet would avoid the pitfalls of their home world (presumably our Earth) and the people lead an idyllic life in a virtual paradise.
But the story itself starts with Tony V a fourteen year old enlisted in the work group to rebuild a city after a great war (obviously a war that should never have occurred). Tony's job is to break away the rubble for clean-up and, though there are some who look for treasures in the rubble, treasure hunting is not his function. So when he finds a simple water container that should be tossed out, but weighs more than it should; his job is to either put it in the trash or turn it over to his supervisor. He instead opens it to find a diary, which he perceives as trash and should go in the dumpster; yet he instead takes it to his bunk and begins reading it.
The story that unfolds is two-fold in that at the beginning there is the impression that Pelly D is some over-privileged youth trying to skirt through life and just narrowly make the grade while having a good time. This is probably the one weakness that this narrative has especially for the age group; because nothing happens for a long time and even when it begins to happen it's all so subtle that it might be a difficult read for those raised in a culture of instant gratification with the rolling thunder of action packed story telling. This is a story of a different pace that, in the long run, though ponderous, is also thought provoking and eye opening in enough ways that I'd suggest the reader to give it time to grab their interest; because it is well worth reading.
This is a story about prejudice and racism; but it is mostly a story about how simple things that seem to be harmless, though questionable, can easily be used to turn people against each other. It also highlights the realization that even in the best planned environment there may always be undercurrents of old hazards and baggage that have made the long trip with the new pilgrims into their paradise. It's also a story of the growth of Pelly D from a self absorbed youth into someone who has had their eyes opened to full understanding that her perfect world was not so perfect and will never be the same.
The setting and some other characteristics of the characters make this science fiction though it's less of the technical science fiction and adventure and more the thought provoking type similar to H.G. Wells 1984 and Audous Huxley's Brave New World while touching close to terrors from out ot World War II.
Social Science Fiction for all ages; don't let the listing fool you. I recommend this to all ages; just don't expect it to be a light read.
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