Book review: My Life and other Massive Mistakes by Tristan Bancks

Reproduced with the permission of Buzz Words
My Life and other Massive Mistakes by Tristan Bancks, illustrated by Gus Gordon (Random House)
HB RRP $15.99
ISBN 978-0-85798-529-3
Reviewed by Jaquelyn Muller

Warning: Do not attempt to read this book in church, during a board meeting or if you suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome; and you’re kidding yourself if you expect to be able to sneak in a few pages while waiting in a doctor’s surgery; you are likely to be politely redirected to the psychologist down the hall!

Because it is not just the laughing, giggles and chortles that are likely to draw odd glances from onlookers, but your contorted facial expressions that may also breed concern for your mental state. Yes, thanks to Tristan Bancks’ latest book in the My Life series, you are likely to find yourself alone on bus seats and in elevators (oh hang on; I see what he did there)!
                                             
My Life and other Massive Mistakes is a chapter book, however when teamed with illustrations from the brilliant Gus Gordon it transforms into a vivid out of control billy cart ride (and we all know how those end).  The short story nature of the chapters will appeal to 8 – 12 year olds and those who find longer form stories more painful than picking a broken nose.

Each chapter is its own hilarious tale recounted by Tom Weekly, a primary school revolutionary hell bent on mischief and taking down any administration within a 15 minute recess, but in a disarming lovable, larrikin kind of way.

Similar to the appeal of the Wimpy Kid or Treehouse books, the My Life series contains many fun ponderings along the way, including Nine Reasons Why Sloppy Food Should Be Banned and 15 Things You Won’t Hear Your Mum Say Anytime Soon.

Essentially the book conveys a sense of living life to the fullest and embracing creativity, which is what childhood should be. I remember a time when my younger brother embraced his creativity when he decided to make money by selling statues of dead cane toads, but not before storing them in the freezer and giving my mother a nasty surprise when she took out the frozen chook for a Sunday roast! I think we all know someone like Tom Weekly.

In addition to the My Life Series, Tristan Bancks has also released the Mac Slater, Coolhunterbooks. His YA novel Two Wolves was recently shortlisted for the 2015 CBCA Book of the Year Awards for Younger Readers.