The Day I Was Erased by Lisa Thompson

For the last 3 years, I’ve really loved New Year as it has meant a new release from the fab author, Lisa Thompson.  She’s the sort of author I would have loved to have read when I was younger, as she focuses on real-life, often gritty, issues.  The Day I was Erased is no exception…

Maxwell is a secondary school-aged boy who is more often than not in trouble, both at home and at school.  He does have a soft side, but only Monster, his rescue beagle, and his elderly neighbour, Reg, see it.  One day – after getting in the most trouble ever – he finds himself looking through Reg’s curiosity cabinet and accidently finds himself erased from his life.  At first, he rather enjoys not being yelled at, but after a while he misses his old life and thus embarks on an adventure to return…

This is another smasher of a book, which has the underpinning message of life is what you make it.  As ever, Lisa has not shied away from introducing some punchy real-life themes: marital breakdown, dementia and the social difficulties encountered during secondary school years, which is done in a way that is totally relatable to the reader.  She is also realistic in how she represents the themes.  For instance, Maxwell’s home life becomes happier when his parents actually split up and live apart, rather than a rose-coloured ‘parents falling back in love and make everything better’ scenario.  I think that this is really important in children’s literature, because it gently demonstrates that life isn’t always as you would wish it and it also allows children to see their own domestic circumstances reflected in books.  I also like the fact that Lisa ensures that Maxwell accepts responsibility for the mistakes he has made at school and understands the need for consequences.  I particularly love Maxwell’s relationship with Reg, an old neighbour suffering from Alzheimers, and also his friendship with Charlie, whom Maxwell initially sees as a nerd, but finally sees for the true friend that he is.

The book will appeal to readers aged 8/9 and up, particularly those who like real-life type stories with a sprinkle of magic thrown in.  And if this book hits the spot, then don’t hesitate to look at Lisa’s other 2 books: The Goldfish Boy and The Light Jar, all published by Scholastic (warning – if you are an adult reading The Light Jar, then make sure you have your tissues with you!).  Finally, I was intrigued by mention of recordings of the sun’s sounds a couple of times in the story and yes, after a quick bit of googling, I have actually listened to the recordings too – who knew?!



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