Spotty Dopey

Spotty Dopey Blurb Suppose, for argument’s sake, that there was this girl who was born multi-talented: unbelievably sharp intellect, gifted hands, a lovely voice, and not at all bad to look at. Suppose also that that child had the misfortune of having the most sensitive skin ever, leaving her prone to the most painful breakouts of lesions, leaving her blotched and blighted. And what if that was just the least of her worries? What if her family was dysfunctional, her daily commute grueling and her slumber interrupted by ghosts?! What if we were also to imagine that she had this rare and terrible affliction – a sporadic affliction that came from out of nowhere and engulfed everything: her pride, her confidence, and her hopes? What, do you suppose, would become of such a child? Would she be called a leper? Would she be ridiculed, rejected and thwarted? Or embraced in spite of her maladies? How would her natural talents and inclinations fare up against the rigors of circumstance? Would nature trump nurture, or would environment be too formidable a foe? Enough with the suppositions. Open this book and find out!

Genre

Autobiographical/fiction

Critic Evaluation

Cover Design Score: 6

The cover shows a pretty young girl with a half-smile. While it is an attractive image, I don't feel it relates to the title.

Book Blurb Score: 7

The book blurb reflects the contents of the book but could be written more tightly. However, the idea of putting a question to the reader is a good one.

Formatting Score: 10

The book blurb reflects the contents of the book but could be written more tightly. However, the idea of putting a question to the reader is a good one.

Grammar & Spelling Score: 6

Throughout, incorrect words are used, capitalisation and sentence constructions are unusual. Here are examples:
1. page 3: Julia but in.
2. page 5: A questionable logistics, raising children among the dead.
7. page 7: sauntered up lacksadaisically
8. page 8: violators were ejected from the line 
9. page 8: Not even the bright ones such as Andrea who, it was felt hardly needed it.
10.page 12: So un-West-Indian, un-Tropical, unnecessary.
11. page 43: But domino was not a quiet game to begin with.
 (referred to earlier as dominoes)
12: page 81: But if that was the way it had to be, then, they supposed.

Confused character names:
Georgie/Frankie and Joy/Ge

Plot & Structure Score: 7

The story unfolds as a series of episodes, some of which build interest and some which seem unrelated to the main character. This story had the feeling of a memoir but seen through the eyes of an observer rather than the protagonist. This worked well in the latter stages, but early on it served to put the main character at a distance.

Character Development Score: 8

The character development felt natural and was particularly well-handled, and compelling, during the middle section.

Originality Score: 8

There is no sugar-coating of adolescence and no happy ending either -- in fact no ending. This lent a rawness that was compelling.

Pacing Score: 7

Some episodes in the first third of the book were very 'description-heavy' and slowed the pace considerably. I feel that with some good structural editing this could be reversed.
Other episodes, towards the end, finished abruptly; suddenly the narrator was talking about something completely different which was jarring.

Use of Language Score: 8

The writer moved effortlessly between English and dialect which gave the narrative texture. The writer also has a knack for mixing up sentence length which I found satisfying to read.
In the later stages, there were some memorable passages, ie:

Page 91: Annette was generally thought of as being a down-to-earth matter-of-fact no-nonsense young woman. She called a spade a spade, was more than willing to bury the spade, but would gladly whack you top-side the head with a spade if you crossed her, and use that spade to dig you a nice shallow grave, over which she would step and get on with her affairs.

Overall Readability Score: 7

It took me almost half the book to become comfortable with the story; I felt the narrative was bogged down with description which distanced me from the main character.  After that point, I wanted to find out what happened, the writing was more character focused and the description, while leaner, was compelling.

This book received a critic's score of 74 out of 100 possible points.

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Curator Evaluation

<p>Mahakoe introduces us to a character that teaches us a valuable lesson in grit, triumph, and overcoming adversity. In a world that sometimes shames difference, Mahakoe weaves a story that makes us question our own views of the world and how we treat others. This is a great read for all those who want to get back in touch with their feisty and empathetic selves.</p>

This book was curated by Diana Fitts

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