David is a teenager who is in that memorable and rather frightening middle ground between childhood and adulthood. The book is set in in England in the 1980s, and David's story is told in a leisurely, episodic way that gives it the feel of a memoir (and I'd be surprised if much of this book wasn't inspired by Magrs' own life experiences). David's honest storytelling style makes this book a compelling read.
The book is divided into months and covers about a year of David's life. As the book opens, he is in his first year of secondary school. His American step-grandmother has come to live with David and his family, and while he enjoys her company (and her interest in his life), the dynamic at home has changed as a result. His best friend is changing, too, becoming more interested in girls, lifting weights, and music and less interested in what David simply calls The Show: Dr. Who. David is an enormous Dr. Who fan, and he spends hours reading the books and speculating about the plot of the next episode, not to mention writing stories of his own.
Magrs does an excellent job capturing the mindset of adolescence. Even though the story is told through David's first-person narration, the reader is able to understand certain aspects of the things David relates that David doesn't quite comprehend himself - which lends a certain amount of humor to the novel, but also made me even more sympathetic to David's situation. While it's definitely an introspective, quiet book, there is an interesting story here, brought to life through realistic dialogue and the strength of David's emotions and keen observations. This book should have strong appeal to many different kinds of readers - anyone who loves Dr. Who, of course (although being a fan is not a prerequisite to enjoying this book), but also those who have any show or film or book they obsessed about as a teen, music lovers, and to anyone who enjoys a sensitive and intelligent coming-of-age tale.
The Diary of a Dr Who Addict by Paul Magrs (Simon and Schuster, 2010)
Also reviewed at:
Cathode Ray Tube: "It's a beautifully observed, witty and warm book."
I Was a Teenage Book Geek: "I'd recommend this book to teens who are questioning their own identity, and to anyone who has a nostalgic love for classic episodes of Dr Who."
Wondrous Reads: "Even though I'm not a teenage boy living in the 1980s, I still related to The Diary of a Dr. Who Addict much more than most of the other books I've read."