Landed with the task of a Victorian home project and sitting in the snottiest boy in school, 11-year-old Charlotte “Charlie” Enright already has doubts about how this year in school is going to be. When her mother loses her job and starts meeting a single father through her babysitting job, Charlotte escapes into her project – the diary of a Victorian maid named Lottie – and wonders what she would do.
Lottie, a Reflection in a possible Past
Lottie is a reflection and fictional manifestation of Charlie in Victorian times. Like Charlie, she is often protective of her family – and Charlie’s growing concerns for her mother’s jobs show at the beginning of her diary, where their present-day situation with Jo’s loss of her job is represented through the meagre earnings her mother earns despite overworking. At the same time, she voices her displeasure and distrust of men – especially when Mark comes into their life in present day.
In a way, Lottie can be said to be Charlie’s escape – where things work out in the end and she is well-liked by the people around her – something that may or may not work out in her reality.
The overarching theme through the entire book tends to be the fact that despite the environment, growing pains are universal. As much as Lottie is more selfless, concerned with family, and is working to put food on the table, she struggles with the same problems as Charlotte – taking responsibilities, mending friendships, and issues with men and boys.
Style & Structure
This novel is written in two distinct halves – Charlie’s and Lottie’s perspective. This does not only bring out the parallels in the lives of both girls, it also provides an avenue for Charlie’s reflection and inner character without engaging too much in exposition or too much “telling”. At the same time, readers are able to catch Charlie’s vulnerabilities – like her concern for her family and respect for a good teacher despite her hardened appearance.
The Lottie Project is written by Jacqueline Wilson. You can find out more about the book here.
In the meantime…
And that’s it from me for now. Next-in-Reading will be taking a break in November because I’ll be doing Nanowrimo. Apart from that, we’ll see you for the last stretch of Next-in-Reading for this year in December!