Loo and behold!

BOOK REVIEW

He sits, he writes, he flushes! Literally. That’s Amos Lee, the 10-year-old who updates his diary every morning in the loo. Not that he has any choice. He is just following his mum’s orders. In fact, it is his mum’s New Year resolution to get him to write. So begins Amos’ tryst with writing when he’s doing his ‘big business’.

His entries begin with the ‘boring old stuff’, where he describes his family, the origin of his name, his ‘pesky’ little sister, his day at school, and so on, till his mum lands a job as a writer for a magazine. Then begins Amos journey into the exciting world of his mother’s assignments that include tasting new cuisine till he feels pukey, ogling deformed frogs, visiting smelly farms, hunting crabs and more... all activities that result in exciting entries in his diary. Suddenly, there’s so much to write and so little time. After all, he has to finish writing before his ‘big job’ is done!

His days in school are no less exciting. Amos and his pals — Alvin and Anthony, famously known as The 3As, have to deal with a bully called Michael. The bully locks up the school gate before the boys can enter and they get scolded for latecoming. He routinely refers to Amos as ‘Pangolin’. He does and says anything and everything to provoke The 3As. Amos hates him. And his diary stands testimony to his strong feelings.

Dealing with the big bully is not the only thing on little Amos’s mind. He falls in love with a gadget and he must now make money to buy it. Amos plays a wizard, a clown, a monkey and a pirate at birthday parties to save up for ‘Project PSP’. He also paints and sells T-shirts and shoes to fund his dream.

While YOU are allowed to enjoy his adventures, he makes it quite clear to his parents that he doesn’t like them even touching, forget reading, his diary. But at the end of each page there is either a spelling correction, an admonition or a bit of well-meaning advice from his mum, and Amos just loathes it! So what if he spells ‘lieutenant’ as ‘loo-tenant’ or ‘assignments’ as ‘ass-in-mens’? It’s his diary, after all!

Alas! Parents will be parents and “maybe writing everything in this diary isn’t such a good idea,” declares Amos. Don’t be disheartened. He will write, but he will  devise new ways to keep his precious diary away from certain prying eyes!

Chethana Dinesh
The Diary of Amos Lee By Adeline Foo
136 pages; Rs 195

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