‘Dear Nobody’ by Berlie Doherty

Best of: books for ages 14-18 #8: ‘Dear Nobody’ by Berlie Doherty

This story, published in 1991, won the Carnegie Medal and has been adapted for the stage. It tells the story of a couple in their final year of school, Chris and Helen, after Helen gets pregnant. The story takes the form of a series of letters from Helen to her unborn child, which always begin with “Dear Nobody”. It also follows Chris’s reactions as he reads the letters, which Helen posts to him.

Sweet and gentle, it has all the subtleties of a children’s book. The big difference between ‘Dear Nobody’ and a book for children, however, is that the subject matter and the characters set it thoroughly in the adult realm.

The interspersing of the two viewpoints, Chris’s and Helen’s, along with the clear progression of time (the chapters are named after the months in which their events unfold) lead to a simple story that delights readers of all ages, but particularly those for whom the experiences of teenage and family life ring true.

By the same author: ‘Granny was a Buffer Girl’, plus a huge range of books for children, young adults and adults, including poetry.

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