Book Review: Do Not Read Or Else! by Pat Moon

Do Not Read Or Else!

Pat Moon

Pages: 176

Price: Both Flipkart and Amazon show the book as unavailable. I picked up my copy at a second-hand book sale

Publisher: Orchard Books/Hachette Children’s Books

Rating: 4/5

Finch Penny is twelve years, twenty-two weeks and two days old and has a lot going on in her almost-teenage life. She has a new boyfriend, her mom is pregnant with triplets, her mom’s boyfriend has proposed marriage, her grandmother is about to marry her boyfriend (a biker named Bill), all while Finch is determined to find out who her real father is. It’s not all drama though – she manages to squeeze in some dog-training sessions and sleepovers with friends in the middle of all the madness.

This book lies in the cusp between a middle grade book and a YA book. I thought of it as sort of a more light-hearted version of a Jacqueline Wilson tale. It features modern tweens, modern families, their lives and the problems that come with them. The main crux of the book is quite serious – searching for a dad who doesn’t know you exist and all the fear and trepidation that comes with it. Finch’s mom became pregnant at a party when she was 16 and barely remembers the guy. Thirteen years later, Finch launches a secret investigation (begging her friends to help) to discover her father’s identity. While this is a major issue to deal with, the book handles it well.

The book isn’t dark and full of doom and gloom, mostly because Finch is a cheerful, strong-minded girl. The story is told through Finch’s diary entries, which are often hilarious and entertaining. We get a first-person perspective of everything she’s going through. Even when she speaks of grave matters, the tone is light – not flippant, but just light enough. This makes Finch’s life and the book a great read. Her life is full of quirky characters whose quirks don’t become the central focus. This makes the book much more real somehow – we all know people with oddball traits (everyone has them!) but it doesn’t become the only thing the person is about.

This is the third book in the series, but the first book I’ve read. I thought it was a fantastically entertaining, easy-breezy read. The other books would be well worth looking out for at my next second-hand book sale.

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