Anna confides in her dog Timmy as her home life is somewhat chaotic. She has a new baby brother, born prematurely, and all her mother’s time is taken up looking after him. Her father travels for his job so relies on Anna to keep things going at home. Gradually things go downhill at home and things come to a head when Anna can never get her school uniform and PE kit washed: the machine is permanently full of nappies, and washing them seems to be Anna’s job according to Gran.
At school Anna, her two best friends and another girl, Lauren, are practicing for the talent competition as one of the school’s old girls, now a pop star is coming to the school to record a charity single. Not daunted in any way by the fact that Anna has only been playing the violin for two months and is finding it difficult to practice because of waking the baby, the four girls form a band, although Lauren is absent from most of their practice sessions. Anna discovers the reason for this when she meets Lauren in the launderette where she has gone to wash her clothes in desperation (her two friends have told her she has started to smell): Lauren is a carer for her siblings as her mother has died. The arrival of a monster internet shop, ordered because Anna thought it would prove to be useful to buy two months’ worth of food is the final straw for her and she runs off with Timmy.
Well written in a confiding tone, this sad tale tugs at the heart strings. Hopefully they will notice the change of confidant at the end when Anna writes to Jack the baby, rather than Timmy. The school do not appear to have noticed Anna’s somewhat dishevelled appearance and inability to turn up with the correct ingredients for her cookery classes which is a little worrying and perhaps not quite true to life, and would her mother and Gran really not notice her smelly uniform, or expect her to do an internet shop unaided? In the main however this is a story that convinces. Anna is a plucky character and her situation well described. There are notes about young carers at the end of the story.