Soup and Bread
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Eleven year old Vonnie is fussy about food, she hates Thursdays because it's PE and she doesn't like it when the teacher blames the whole class every time the bullies pick on Claire for being fat.
On the upside, she has a best friend, Mum never forces her to finish her dinner and the bullies leave her alone.
But all that changes when Frank comes to school.
Cover image by Maria Bozina
eBook available ($14.95) from http://tinyurl.com/pjlhxg4
For the blog posts discussing the book see www.nonentiti.wordpress.com
Published by N Titi PublishingReviews
A well-written book for readers approx 10 to 15 around the very important topic of bullying and eating disorders. Very happy to recommend this book.
SOUP AND BREAD, a young adult contemporary adventure, deals with family relationships, school likes and dislikes, and the awkwardness of growing up. Vonnie finds that her life has many pitfalls.
SOUP AND BREAD seems like a simple and philosophical diet. However, we all know that most young people want cake, ice- cream, sweet drinks, tasty main courses, and maybe not too many vegetables. Some of them even go on faddy stretches of not eating other foods. In this tale Vonnie and Laura's mom lectures them about nutritious food, but between their fads and her husband's preference for meat and tatties, she has her work cut out to cook a meal.
Despite the insistence of the teachers that this is a zero tolerance school, we still find that dreadfully, Isabel, a pal of Vonnie's, has had her violin's neck broken and has herself been threatened. No wonder the poor girl can't keep food down when she thinks of class and music practice. Bullying is extremely harmful to growing people and reflects the ignorance and envy of the bullies.
When Vonnie and Laura see that their mom has cleaned out the cupboards and fridge, and is on a soup and multigrain bread regime, they are dismayed. Their lunch boxes are equally simple and breakfast is porridge. Vonnie complains to her friend Rinah, whose Asian mother prepares healthy meals too. Frank, the strongest guy in class who despises bullies, has to explain to the girls about his diabetes. He knows a lot about carbs and proteins, and the girls start to learn. But that doesn't solve the tensions - at home or at school. They'll just have to tough it out.
I found it unusual to read a story where everyone is constantly eating something, or not eating and complaining about the food. Different outcomes of eating different ways are shown, including anorexia, and a chart of Blood Sugar Levels for Diabetics is at the end after the story's dramatic conclusion. SOUP AND BREAD is a really unusual adventure dealing with more than one major issue for those concerned, and Nōnen Títi has seasoned her well-written story with a great deal of information to help young adults understand their lives. While the author lives in New Zealand, I believe this tale could occur in many places around the world, so perhaps it's true to say that we have too many choices of what to eat, and too many adults unprepared to listen to unhappy young students. The real lesson of SOUP AND BREAD is that we should be prepared to listen and to make changes for the better. Any family with a diabetic adult or child will be especially interested in reading this adventure.
Clare O'Beara on www.freshfiction.com
Clare O'Beara on Fresh Fiction