The Story of Tracy Beaker (1991) by Jacqueline Wilson
I used to play this daft game with my fingers. I’d make them into a family. There were Mummy Finger and Daddy Finger, big brother Freddy Finger, pretty little Pinkie Finger and Baby Thumbkin. I’d give myself a little puppet show with them, making them jump about, and I’d take them for walks up and down the big hill of my leg and I’d tuck them up for the night in my hankie.Baby Camilla used to like that game ever so much. I’d give the Finger Family different squeaky voices and I’d make them talk to her and take it in turns to tap her tiny little nose and she’d always chuckle so much her whole body jumped up and down. I don’t half miss Camilla.
Hey. Sudden thought. Cam. Is Cam short for Camilla?
I was delighted at breakfast to see that Justine has a swollen nose and a sticking plaster.
The swollen nose matches her swollen head. Justine Littlewood thinks she’s really it. And she isn’t. I truly don’t get what Louise sees in her. If I were Louise I’d much sooner be Tracy Beaker’s best friend.
What really gets me is that I was the one who pulled up with Justine first. She turned up at the Home one evening, all down and droopy because her um had cleared off with some bloke and left Justine and her two little brothers and her dad to get on with it. Only her dad couldn’t get on with it and got into a short-term foster home because they were still nearly at the baby stage and not too much bother. But Justine didn’t get taken on too, because they thought she’d be difficult.
I generally like kids who are difficult. And I thought I liked the look of Justine. And the sound of her. Because after the first droopy evening she suddenly found her tongue and she started sounding off at everyone, getting really stroppy and swearing. She knew even more swear words than I do.
She was like that all week but she shut up on Sunday. Her dad was supposed to see her on Sunday. She was sitting waiting for him right after breakfast, though he wasn’t supposed to be coming till eleven o’clock. Eleven came and went. And twelve. And then it was dinnertime and Justine wouldn’t eat her chicken. She sat at the window all afternoon not budging.
My tummy went tight whenever I looked at her. I knew what it was like. I used to sit like that. Not just here. I used to wait at both my crummy foster homes. And the children’s homes in between. Waiting for my mum to come. But now I’ve got myself sorted out. No more dumb sitting about for me. Because my mum’s probably too far away to come on a quick visit. Yeah, that’s it, she’s probably abroad somewhere, she’s always fancied travelling.
The Story of Tracy Beaker portrays the perspective held by society towards foundlings through the protagonist, Tracy. The novel is written from the perspective of Tracy and presents her sorrow as she feels lonesome due to being put in a care home by her mother. Tracy’s abandonment has enabled her to become sympathetic towards the other children, who were also put in care homes. Initially, she is very welcoming towards Justine, suggesting that she can relate to the rejection and ignorance held by society towards foundlings. Notwithstanding the fight Tracy has with Justine, she shows a change of heart when she sees that Justine has been abandoned by her father. Tracy’s sudden change in behaviour towards Justine acts as a critique of society as they turn a blind eye towards abandoned children. Both Tracy and Justine experience neglection and abandonment, exemplifying the extent to which foundlings are a common social issue as they are so often overlooked and deserted. The Story of Tracy Beaker explores the flaw in society as they perceive foundlings as burdens and allow them to become victims of desertion. The novel highlights the flaws in human nature as often we abandon the most innocent within society.