Recently I was given the opportunity to read a rather comical book from Barbour Publishing called Diary of a Real Payne, True Story by Annie Tipton. The book narrates the antics of a ten-year-old girl named Emma Jean Payne, "EJ" for short. She lives in the small town of Spooner, Wisconsin (entirely too small for her!) with her father who is a pastor, her mom who is a second grade teacher, and her pesky brother Isaac who is five and about to start kindergarten.
EJ dreams largely about what her future holds, but her imagination has a way of getting her into trouble wherever she goes. When out with her family or at school she escapes into herself so much that she seems to forget where she is and what is going on in the real world. She chronicles her dreams in a diary that her mom has encouraged her to write in, as a way to express what she hopes for her future.The story is written alternating between her writing in her diary and the actual events taking place. (although I will tell you, it's not a true story, shhhh!)
It does remind me a bit of a different well known book series, (I haven't read it but have seen the movie) but with a bit more of a moral Christian lesson after each unfortunate situation that EJ finds herself in. She learns from her mistakes but it does not seem to keep her from finding trouble again. (she cuts a chunk out of her brother's hair, eek!)
Personally I would say the book would be good for either boys or girls age 9-12 years old. I liked the book okay for my 11 year old daughter but I would not read it to my 14 year old son. (he's at a younger level) The reason why I wouldn't? Some of the antics are things he has actually done...or would do. I do not want to give him any new ideas.
Not so funny when it happens in real life, trust me on this! ;)
Ultimately, it is a cute story about an overly imaginative young girl, with big dreams, that learns a lesson from each situation she gets into. She also learns through a friendship with a neighbor to look beyond initial appearances, which is something we all could benefit from doing.
You can buy this book from Barbour Publishing right now for a reduced price of $4.49.