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PP Wong: Life of a Banana

Title: Life of a BananaThe Life of a Banana (Paperback)

Author: PP Wong

Press: Legend Press

Prizes: Longlisted for the Baileys

Women’s Fiction Prize

Date of Publication: 2014

Date of Purchase: November 2018

RRP: £7.99

Price of Purchase: £7.99

Reading Time: 3 days

Rating: 8

This novel was a bit of a departure for me for several reasons. 1. it’s commercial fiction 2. it’s focus is a young protagonist, she also provides the narrative voice, and, 3. I paid full price for it in an actual bookshop (hold your gasps). My reasons for reading were more conventional. This fortnight I am completing a work placement with Legend Press and I lied on my application form that I had read this book already. Overjoyed to have the opportunity to work alongside them I quickly realised the error of my ways and have now done what I claimed to have done months ago.

The novel itself is fab. It’s tear jerking in places and hilarious in others. The narrative voice is honest and heart breaking. Besides that though it made me think. The experiences of the main characters are unlike any in my own life, being a white as white person from the North East of Scotland my only experience of racism was on TV and in history books, but they were relayed in a way which I could understand without feeling patronised. I think Life of a Banana could be enjoyed by basically anybody. It offers a familiar voice to people who may feel othered by most literature, especially young people, but it is also just a good, well written story with warm, likeable characters. It is colourful and engaging from start to finish and, although nowhere near my normal read, I would definitely seek out anything else she writes. If you’re looking for something which combines the light and the serious you could do a lot worse than this.

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