The crazy life of the ClarkClan. Living a life of grace through Jesus Christ.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Review–Barbour Publishing—Diary of a Real Payne Book 1: True Story

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Diary of a Real Payne Book 1: True Story has been one of those books that you pick up and don’t want to put down. From the introduction of EJ (Emma Jean, that is) a friendship develops and draws the reader deeper into the book. Follow along as EJ uses her highly developed imagination that both get her into scrapes, as well as get her out of them.

EJ is a fun, spunky 10 year old girl living in Spooner WI. She describes her town as being the most boring place in the world. But for such a boring town, EJ sure knows how to create adventure. She can use her imagination to take her just about any where in the world, (or out of it) and do any job imaginable.

Even when things don’t go the way EJ would like, she finds out that she can make the best out of any situation. Spelling Bees, camping trips, shoveling show for a grumpy neighbor. and being in the Christmas play show EJ how to be gracious. kind , and compassionate. With parents that love her and a little brother that adores her. EJ realizes Spooner may not be so bad after all.

ClarkClan Experiences

Diary of a Real Payne is written seamlessly between first and third person narrative. The introduction and beginning of each chapter contains a “diary” entry from EJ that introduces the chapter This is written in first person point of view. It is set apart by pictures and a notebook paper look to the entry. The book switches to third person narrative until EJ begins imagining things, then it switches back to first person. It may sound confusing, but the format works really well. Each chapter is introduced by a cute picture as well as a few illustrations in the diary entries.

I began the review of this book by giving it to my 10 year old nephew , Eli, to read. Eli had it finished in two days and gave it back to me saying it was really good. I then gave it to Ben (12) to read.  He read it in about two days and told me that I had to read it because it was so funny. I began reading the book to see if Rebekah (10) and Miriam (8) would be able to read it. After reading the entire book, I made the decision that it was too good a book to read silently. I began reading it out loud to the two girls. Of course, Ben always comes running when I read it so he can hear it again, he liked it so much. The consensus with the kids in my family ages 8-12 is that is is an excellent book. They really like it.

Because I was enjoying reading the book out loud to the girls, I came up with the bright idea that I would like to see what older kids thought of the book. I took it in to Sarah’s (16) small Christian school and asked if I could read it out loud to her 11th grade class during their silent reading half hour. Despite Sarah’s misgivings about her friends thinking her mother was weird, I have found that the kids are greatly enjoying listening to the book. Five chapters into the book with these teens and I am hearing giggling over EJ’s troubles. Even the home room teacher told me that the kids are now talking about the funny book Sarah’s mom is reading to them.

So I guess you could say we recommend this book. Highly recommend. I love how the book features a little girl who is bright, funny, and not perfect. She makes mistakes, she gets annoyed with her little brother, but overall, she finds that her faith keeps her strong.

Another aspect of the book that I truly appreciate is that it is a book written with EJ’s faith being a normal part of her life. This is how my kids are being raised and I like that we can read a book out loud where the dad and mom talk to her about trusting in God for all things. The faith aspect is not contrived or thrown in, but woven seamlessly throughout the entire book.


Many of my Crew Mates reviewed Diary of a Real Payne Book 1: True Story. Visit the Crew Blog and read what they and their children thought of the book.

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Lisa said...

Jill read the introduction to me and now I'm next in line to read this book! It's so hilarious! Can't wait to get my hands on it.

Annie Tipton said...

Jill, I love hearing about families reading EJ's adventures aloud together -- thanks for sharing your review!