Tuesday, 1 April 2014
Review: Gangsta Granny by David Walliams
Format: Paperback / eBook
Released: October 27th, 2011
Our hero Ben is bored beyond belief after he is made to stay at his grandma’s house. She’s the boringest grandma ever: all she wants to do is to play Scrabble, and eat cabbage soup. But there are two things Ben doesn’t know about his grandma. 1) She was once an international jewel thief. 2) All her life, she has been plotting to steal the Crown Jewels, and now she needs Ben’s help…
As a general rule I try to stay away from novels written by celebrities, mainly because the ones I have read weren't very good (except for Elixir by Hilary Duff). However, I'm a big fan of children's fiction, especially humorous children's fiction, so thought it was about time I gave David Walliams a chance. All the kids love him, we sell loads of copies at work and a new book by him is getting to be a major publishing event. After reading Gangsta Granny I see why he's so popular - I laughed (a lot), I agreed with his underlying messages and I very nearly shed a tear at the end.
Gangsta Granny is all about Ben, an eleven-year-old aspiring plumber who thinks his granny is painfully old and boring. She never leaves the house, smells of cabbage all the time and only ever plays Scrabble. He hates staying at her house, or spending any time with her at all, until one day when he discovers some jewels in a tin and finds out his dear old granny is a jewel thief! Together they concoct a crazy heist plan that includes a trip to London on a slow mobility scooter, a wetsuit and a meeting with a very important person.
Gangsta Granny may be very mad and very funny, but it's sad and sentimental too. Granny finds herself not in the best of health, and this teaches Ben that granny's won't be there forever, and that he should spend time with her and appreciate her as much as possible. It's a lesson for us all, really; grandparents aren't invincible and yes, they might be old and smell of cabbage, but that doesn't mean they don't have a lifetime of fascinating stories to tell.
Gangsta Granny is a brilliant book for children. It's funny, well written and includes illustrations that compliment the story. I became quite attached to granny and her four-miles-an-hour mobility scooter and pocket of Murray Mints - she reminded me of my own Nanna who is quite old but doesn't like to think she is. I'll be reading more by David Walliams when I get chance, starting with Demon Dentist as that one sounds right up my gruesome street!