Review: Crystal

crystalcoverschoolIn this, her eighteenth novel, Katie Price tells the harrowing story of crippled young orphan girl Jo Arden and her dreams of becoming a famous writer. Suffering from a rare childhood medical condition which causes one breast to grow larger than the other, Jo Arden is forced to wear a ‘blocker bra’ to school and is subjected to merciless bullying by the other pupils. After one such incident, where she is marked for life by being daubed in indelible orange paint and has cutting remarks made about the practicality of wearing high-heels to play netball, young Jo seeks refuge in the girls’ toilets. Here she is discovered by kindly English teacher Prof. Saville, who is carrying out a routine check.

Saville puts a comforting arm around Jo’s shoulder and leads her away to the refuge of his secret Stationery Cupboard Zoo, where he calms the girl down by allowing her to milk a cow in the dark. He also speaks kindly to Jo, praising her beauty and assuring her that she is a good girl and a pretty one –with his voice all going up at the end. Inspired by the kindly old gent’s actions and words of encouragement, Jo Arden drys her eyes, wipes her hands clean and resolves to turn her life around.

What follows is an uplifting tale of the power of love and the indomitability of the human spirit. Prof. Saville becomes more than an English teacher and develops into somewhat of a father figure to the lonely young girl. He encourages her to enter writing competitions and also to compose poetry. In return she helps him regularly in his Stationery Cupboard Zoo, milking for all she is worth in the comforting darkness.

At first, success is elusive but, after several disappointments,  young Jo wins a ‘composition’ prize, organised by the local church. A feat which, for the first time, wins her the grudging respect of her schoolmates. In addition, the regular clandestine milkings and constant prose writing are strengthening and transforming her crippled young body; her withered breast begins to swell and swell until soon it rivals its brassiere-mate in girth and defiance of gravity. Now, suddenly and much to the dismay of Prof. Saville, all the boys want to help carry her books at break-time –in particular swarthy milk monitor Pierre Andre.

I won’t give away too much more of the rest of the plot, for fear it will spoil your enjoyment of the book. However I highly recommend this title. Katie Price has shown us once again the power she can command with mere words and her box of crayons and the world of literature is the richer for it. I unreservedly recommend this book.

RATING:  5 Stars

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