This is the laugh out loud story of Emma Jean Payne, or EJ as she is known, her family, and all her imaginary happenings. The daughter of a minister and a 2nd grade teacher EJ has a big imagination only stifled by those who would bring her back to earth.
Diary of a Real Payne Book 1: True Story is written like a diary. The first part of each chapter is her diary entry which gives an intro into the coming story in the next chapter. And the rest of the chapter is how EJ's imagination gets her into trouble. In each chapter EJ takes an imaginary ride brought on by her surroundings. From being a dolphin trainer, to a hairstylist, to an airline stewardess. When EJ “comes to” or snaps out of it she has usually caused left some mild catastrophe in her wake.
Although the synopsis on the back of the book says this story is about EJ's dissatisfaction with her hometown of Spooner Wisconsin but I found it to be more about EJ's big heart and how she doesn't let much get her down. She's got her nemesis at school and plenty of adults who don't just get her but that doesn't keep EJ from letting Christ shine through and being a big person. Bigger than the ones she imagines. That's how I felt about this book.
How did I like the book?
On the entertaining level Diary of a Real Payne Book 1: True Story book is 5 stars. I enjoyed this book all by myself when nobody is around. My daughter is 8 so a 10 year felt like miles older than her. I ended up reading the book to her but I'm holding on to this book for her to read in the near future. I imagine she'll really enjoy it on her own in a year or two.
Diary of a Real Payne is well written. It's a cute book about a likeable child and will especially appeal to little girls. EJ is not overly feminine but she does worry about her hair. She has a cute little brother and loving parents. Even though this book is about a girl I imagine young boys might enjoy the story too.
This book prompted a discussion between my husband and I about reading. Our daughter is an excellent reader but she only likes to read at night in her bed when she finally has to relax and wind down from an energetic day. But then, when is finally still, she devours books. My husband made the comment that she must get her good reading from me. I love to read and usually have two or three books going (like now) along with several magazines strewn about the house that I'm in the process of reading. I thought about this and remember I WAS just like my daughter. But I didn't love to read. Like her I only read when I had to. For school and when there was nothing else to do. I was good a good reader though. My mother constantly had good reports on my reading. But I tell you it wasn't until college that I finally read for reading sakes. I did not discover many beautiful classics until college.
So while my daughter wasn't there yet with this book I have every confidence that she soon will. And I really enjoyed it!
Update: Just a few months later my daughter loved this book and we had to go on and get book two (link below)
You can purchase Diary of a Real Payne Book 1: True Story is 192 pages. This book is recommended for ages for ages 8 through 12.
You can catch up with EJ Payne on her Facebook page www.Facebook.com/DiaryofaRealPayne