This book is called ‘MY SISTER LIVES ON THE MANTELPIECE’ written by Annabel Pitcher. It is about a 10-year-old boy named Jamie who has two sisters. One sister died in a terrorist attack (allegedly led by some people who followed Islam) but Jamie doesn’t remember the incident. Her name was Rose. When he was 9 years old, Jamie’s mom left them and moved away. Jamie really tries to think of ways to get them back together. In the meantime, his other sister Jas supports him and takes care of him well. Jamie is very sad and shocked but Jas is more hurt because she left them on her birthday. Jamie is a very confused boy because he just doesn’t know why Jas and his dad can’t move past the death of his long-gone sister, Rose. Jamie’s dad is too sad to throw her ashes into the sea and Jas seems to miss Rose. Jamie always feels very irritated and jealous because when it’s Jamie’s birthday, his dad gives Rose who doesn’t even exist a piece of cake. It’s like another person is living with them even though she doesn’t actually exist. Jamie can’t make much sense of his surroundings until he makes a new Muslim friend who is like him. Her name is Sunya. She understands him and likes the things that he does. The two become close friends. Jamie spends time with Sunya and one night, his dad even offers her a ride without knowing that she is a Muslim. He starts to like Sunya. One fine Parents Night, when Jamie and his dad are about to leave, Sunya and her parents come in. They greet Jamie and his dad goes mental. He shouts, screams and abuses them. Sunya’s family is heartbroken. Jamie hates his dad for abusing his best friend, her religion and family. In the meantime, Jamie has an idea to bring his mom and dad back together. He and Jas enter the Britain’s Got Talent competition and Jas gets in but refuses the next round. Jamie’s mom came to watch but leaves almost after saying ‘hi’ and ‘how are you?’ Jamie suddenly realizes that his mom didn’t care about them and never did. He is shocked and sad. And to make it worse, when Jamie gets back from his audition, his cat, Roger has gone missing! Later, he finds Roger dead on the street. His heart pounds hard and aches. For the first time in five years, Jamie cries and oh boy! He cries a lot. Jamie now realizes why his dad couldn’t move past Rose’s death: Because it was too hard to let go and he loved her too much. When Jas and his dad find out, they support him but Jamie’s dad does something almost unbelievable. He takes the urn in which Rose’s ashes are and along with Jamie, empties them out and helps Jamie bury Roger. At last, Jamie’s dad shows empathy and also realizes that if he doesn’t empty his ashes and save his living family now, he will lose them too. He feels like he needs to support his son and get him to move past Roger’s death, too.
What I like about the book:
  • I really like how Roger the cat plays a big role in the story. I am a cat lover and wondering how great it was that Roger played such a big role in the book.
  • This book reminded me of The Curious Incident of The Dog in The Night-Time because; it is also about family issues and affairs. Look out for my review of the book in some time. 
  • One of the more touching moments of the book is when Jas gives Jamie a Spider Man t-shirt but pretends its his mom who gave it because she didn’t want Jamie to have to handle a lot of things. He wears it all the time until he figures out that Jas gave it to him and he thanks her. He takes off the t-shirt and knowing that he needn’t care about his mom if she didn’t care about him, he becomes an entirely different human. He feels stronger, more courageous and he feels more grown up.
  • Apart from the great writing, the author was trying to make a big point in the book. Jamie’s father puts all the blame on Muslims even though only a few people who happened to be Muslim had been responsible for the incident in which he lost Rose. The point that the author is making is that racism is a very bad thing and it is something that a lot of us do nowadays. It makes us abuse other people’s religions when, we ourselves, don’t know much about it. As the old proverb goes: Don’t judge books by their cover.
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