#31. The Story of Tracy Beaker by Jacqueline Wilson
The Story of Tracy Beaker is a British children’s book first published in 1991, written by Jacqueline Wilson and illustrated by Nick Sharratt. Tracy Beaker 2 was released recently in the modern age. Here Wilson who lots of people admire wrote a sequel to the original much-loved Tracy Beaker storyline. A lady has acted out this story on many television shows. Now there is a Tracy Beaker ‘Returns’ where the original actor is grown up.
The book is told from the point of view of Tracy Beaker, an adventurous and very naughty ten-year-old girl. The reason why Tracy is often unhappy and has problems with her behavior is because she is lonely, frustrated and feels unloved. Tracy resides in a children’s residential care home (nicknamed “The Dumping Ground”) where she has been placed as a result of neglect. Her mother often left Tracy to stay by herself when Tracy was very young and does not appear to have an interest in her daughter’s life. Tracy is unhappy because she has not had any contact her mother for a long time. She has difficulty getting along with the staff and the other children at the care home, (especially a girl named Justine Littlewood). Another reason why Tracy is frustrated and angry is because she was rejected by two couples who attempted to foster her. Elaine, her case worker gives Tracy a journal to write in, and it is in this format, in her own words that the story is presented.
From an adult’s point of view, Tracy has “behavioral problems” and she is always telling tales. Tracy’s stories seem to provide a high level of comfort and security for her. For example, a recurring story that Tracy likes to tell is that her mother is a glamorous Hollywood movie star, and that she is coming to collect her someday. Tracy says that her mother is so busy being in films that she does not have time for Tracy. Among other things, Tracy’s autobiography details her life so far, her being “deprived and abused” in the children’s home (for example, she is deprived of Mars Bars and Smarties) and the types of revenge she would like to take upon her enemies. She is very imaginative and believes that her mum will come home one day. She often portrays a deep and complicated mind.
While I found the story well written, and expressive from the viewpoint of a child, it would be more enjoyable for the BBC to have a separate list for children-oriented books. It’s a difficult transition when you go from reading Anna Karenina to Tracy Beaker.
In 2002 the book was voted the winner of the Blue Peter People’s Choice Award. Jacqueline Wilson has written three sequels to the book, The Dare Game, Starring Tracy Beaker, and Tracy Beaker’s Thumping Heart (a Red Nose Day Special).