Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

My Totally Secret Diary: On Stage in America

My Totally Secret Diary: On Stage in America

Dee Shulman
Fiction  Series
For ages 9 to 12
Random House UK, 2008   ISBN: 978-0385614924

You might think that it would be ‘cool’ and ‘interesting’ to have an actress for a mother, but as far as Polly Price is concerned, having a thespian for a parent is a pain. Of course, there are the occasional perks that make life more interesting. One such perk is that Polly is going to go to San Francisco for the summer because her mother’s latest play is opening there. Polly has been looking forward to the trip and has high hopes that it will be enjoyable.

Unfortunately, is soon becomes apparent that the trip is going to be fraught with problems. Polly’s mother, Arabella Diamonte, is a diva of the first order who thinks that the she is the center of the universe. She does not consider Polly’s needs for even a minute, and it never even occurs to her to ask Polly her opinion about anything. So, as soon as they get to San Francisco, Polly is whisked off to the theatre so that her mother can start rehearsing. So much for seeing the sites and having some fun.

When they get to the theatre, Polly’s situation gets a lot worse. She is told, by her mother, that she is going to have to join the young actors and actresses. She will go to lessons with them (need I remind you that this is Polly’s summer holiday) and then go shopping with them and their chaperone.

Perhaps this does not sound too bad to you, but that is because you have not met child actors. As far as Polly is concerned, child actors are the last people on earth she wants to spend her summer holiday with. The two girl actors, Aurora and Ophelia, are very much like miniature versions of Polly’s mother. In other words, they are insufferable. The two boys, Felix and Will are not too bad. Actually, Will is rather nice. Still, Polly soon starts to wish she was anywhere but where she is.

Matters only get worse as opening night comes closer. Ophelia and Aurora are competing to perform on that night, and to say that the atmosphere around them is tense is an understatement. Polly knows full well that a potentially disastrous situation looms on the horizon, and all she can do is duck and hope for the best.

Presented in a diary format with doodle style artwork and handwritten text, this book is laugh of loud funny and a joy to read. Readers will find it hard not to feel sorry for Polly, who wishes more than anything that she had a “normal” life with a “normal” parent.