Title: Marcie Gill and the Caravan Park Cat
Author: Monica McInerny
Genre: Contemporary, magical realism
Published: 2nd November 2021
Synopsis: This heartwarming story by award-winning and bestselling author Monica McInerney will delight readers young and old.
Marcie Gill hasn’t had a great start to the Christmas holidays. Her parents aren’t talking to each other and the family business – the Snorkel Bay Caravan Park – is in financial trouble. Her younger brother will only talk about his 23 goldfish and her sister is obsessed with tennis. To make matters worse her gran is in the hospital after a bad fall and won’t be home for ages.
But then something magical happens. Something that involves a Christmas competition, a black cat called George and a wishing stone. Marcie is about to discover that if you wish hard enough, dreams can come true.
Beloved and award-winning Australian author Monica McInerney has written a delightful and entertaining first book for children.
Marcie Gill, aged ten, lives at the Snorkel Bay Caravan Park with her family. They have run the caravan park for years, but this year, and this Christmas, feels different. Gran is in hospital, and Marcie feels alone as her parents live apart, her brother is too obsessed with his fish and winning a local art competition, and her sister is always playing tennis. So Marcie starts spending time at her gran’s caravan, with her cat, George, and the wishing stone her grandmother has given her. Marcie makes a wish – several wishes, so that everything that is going wrong will soon start getting better – and maybe, just maybe, it will work out!
Marcie Gill and the Caravan Park Cat is perfect summer holiday reading, perfect to get you out of a reading slump, and is just a great read all round for any reason. It has charm, and modernity, whilst reminding generations of the caravan holidays they took as kids and showing the joy in the small things – in wishing, in art, and in family, without being tied to a device. It is in that respect, a breath of fresh air, taking the child characters away from the demands of technology for a little while at least. It is delightful, with easy-to-understand language for young readers that deals with topics and issues that everyone has to go through, and does it so well, that I think anyone of any age should read this book, as it speaks to humanity, family, and community, and what we bring to these things when we work hard and work together.
I loved the sense of community and friendship in this book, as it made the world feel better whilst reading it and loved that it felt like it could be set at any time in the past ten or so years, so COVID wasn’t a concern whilst reading the book. I think COVID stories will be important for some, but it will also be important and good to have stories that don’t reference or have anything to do with COVID. We’re all still living it. Sometimes it is nice to step away from reminders of that world in the books and entertainment we consume – it allows us to imagine or be part of a world and time when it wasn’t a threat, or even something that we were thinking about. The beauty in this story was that whilst it was contemporary, there were times it felt quite timeless, and this was the beauty in this story – anyone reading this can see something of their own childhood and summer holidays in the story and characters.
Marcie was definitely my favourite character, and I always wanted to give her a hug when her sister rejected her to go play tennis or her younger brother wasn’t very nice to her. Yet at the same time, the novel showed the truth and reality of some family dynamics, and how kids are always learning, and learning to cooperate and not be selfish. I felt Marcie was a great example of the kid who was always expected to help and fit in, and the lessons the family learned in the novel illustrated that everyone has a part to play in making a family and community work. I adored this book – I fell in love with George and it made me miss my cats, as I always chatted to them, even if they never talked back to me like George does for Marcie.
Readers of all ages will enjoy this book, and it was the perfect comfort read for me, and made me feel happy.