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- author Jackie French

Monday 16 May 2011

Review: The Other Facts of Life

Ben is ready for the talk. He needs to hear the facts of life. And so his dad begins the talk, only to find out…

NO! he doesn’t mean those facts. The other facts. Ben has some serious questions to ask about life, but – in his words – “Typical. I ask him a serious question and all he wants to talk about is sex.”

He tries to talk to his mum about what’s worrying him, but she doesn’t want to know about it either. And his sister is too busy worrying about how fat she is. Everyone seems too busy to talk about the big issues.

Ben must go to extraordinary lengths to make them listen.

Our main character, Ben, is an observer of the world – the big issues, the small things, and the ways in which the people around him are quite self-obsessed. This opens up a range of questions: does this make Ben better than the others? Should we all take the time to stop and think about world issues? Are there things we should be doing to help?

This story about looking at the bigger picture is simultaneously funny, heartwrenching, clever and serious. Gleitzman manages to take a real world issue, plant concern into his character’s mind, and twist it into a moving, thought-provoking, yet hilarious novel.

What can I say? Brilliant.

Title: The Other Facts of Life
Author: Morris Gleitzman
Publisher: Puffin, $16.95 RRP
Publication Date: 2004
Format: Softcover
ISBN: 9780140325751
For ages: 10+
Type: Novel

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