'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Wednesday 5 July 2023

Review: Get Your Act Together, Doris Kozlowski

From the fun of saying Doris Kozlowski out loud (try it three times quickly) to the insanely quirky, fresh and original character who narrates her sixth grade story for us, this book is a riot of humour and warmth.

It’s perfect for the middle-grade reader and if I may be so bold, it will sit well on the Young Adult shelf, too. It’s beautifully paced and crafted. I loved every funny, flawed and fetid moment and yes, you read that correctly.

Doris Kozlowski lives with her little brother, mother and babcia (Polish grandmother) in Babcia’s Melbourne house, because her dad has run off to London with the performing arts teacher. To say their family is embarrassing, is an understatement. Her mum constantly breaks into show tunes and plays singing, dancing veggies on TV commercials. 

Her little brother befriends potatoes and rocks by giving them faces. And then, there’s her babcia. Words just don’t do this grandmother justice - you have to inhale her by reading.

Suffice to say that Doris is no stranger to drama and public outpourings of emotion, when they’re least wanted and most embarassing. She’s a girl who’s learnt the hard way to keep her head down - and to manage the fallout from her rogue family - as best she can.
When we meet Doris, she’s hatching a plan to win back the friendship of her old bestie Felicity, who is now hanging out with the perfect girls. This plan includes winning the grade six talent contest, and so there’s a very steep learning curve (along with some snorting laughter) along the way.

The pages flick past and still – even right up to the end of the novel - we learn surprising new things. We laugh at, and care deeply about, the frustrating and fabulous Doris who tries so hard and who fails so spectacularly.

The writing is fabulous. It’s pacy and intriguing, and Doris’s 12-year-old voice shines brightly. Everything about this book screams ‘love me and read me more quickly. Go, go, go!’  The characters are human, funny, endearing and relatable. And through all this, overwhelmingly, the narrative brings into sharp focus the power of looking after others while being true to yourself.

I loved Doris Kozlowski and am pretty sure that you will too.

A breath of fresh air.

Title: Get Your Act Together, Doris Kozlowski
Author: Jo Dabrowski
Publisher: Affirm, $16.99
Publication Date: 27 June 2023
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781922848734
For ages: 8 - 12
Type: Middle Grade Fiction